Historic Llano

Historic Railroad District
Llano's newly created Historic Railroad District will focus on the city's strong link with the railroads. Once you have established your home base in one of our historic accommodations or in the very comfortable local hotels or motels you are ready to explore and enjoy the vast variety of relaxing activities and educational experiences. There is something in Llano for everyone!

Early Expeditions
The abundance of springs as well as the diversity of plants and wildlife have attracted humans to this area for some 12,000 years. The first inhabitants survived by hunting the prehistoric mammoth and mastodon. Later, large herds of buffalo, deer, and antelope provided sustenance for the American Indians. In fact, even today, the density of deer in the Llano Basin is greater than any other area in the United States.
Settlers & Indians
The Tonkawa Indians were living in the Llano area when the first Europeans arrived in the vicinity in approximately 1535. Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca led an expedition to explore the vast, uncharted region.

The Tonkawa Indians were later supplanted by the Apache Indians and in turn they were displaced by the Comanche Indians. It wasn't until the mid-1800s that settlers found the area. Until that time, the land was the West Texas Frontier-Indian Territory. The first European residents were brought here by the Adelsverein, a group of German nobleman organized to aid emigration to Texas. In 1845, manager John O. Meusebach made a treaty with the Comanche which opened the Fisher Miller tract area for settlement.

The last battle between the new Texas settlers and the Comanche Indians occurred in 1873, a few miles east of Llano on Packsaddle Mountain. After the threat of Indian attacks on the frontier settlements were resolved, the area attracted ranchers, shops, and industrial work.

Name Origin
Llano in Spanish means "plain," a name hardly fitting this spectacular piece of Hill Country. Originally Spanish explorers the river was named by Rio do los Chanas, or "River of the Chanas." The Chanas is a band of the Tonkawa Indians. Over time, the phonetic similarity between "Chanas" and "Llano" led to confusion and gradually the latter name replaced the original.

Becoming a Town
The Town of Llano was founded in 1855, on the clear, spring-fed Llano River. In 1856, the Town of Llano became the county seat when Llano County was created from parts of Bexar and Gillespie counties. The original courthouse was destroyed by fire and was replaced with the current courthouse in 1893.