French Quarter Round Rock Building History
In 1848, on the crest of a hill overlooking Brushy Creek, John and Susie Harris built the stage depot that is now the home of French Quarter Round Rock. The building’s stone was quarried from the site itself. The inn served the stagecoaches that carried mail and passengers to and from Brownsville and Salado and also an out-of-state route from Helena, Arkansas to San Antonio.
The stagecoach was equipped with a horn which was sounded about a mile outside town. A large flock of geese, kept by Harris, would respond to the horn with a flurry of honking and squawking. The citizens of Round Rock would come running to watch with curiosity the arrival of the stagecoach bearing travelers and long-awaited mail.
The inn was reportedly visited by such notable characters as John Wesley Hardin, fastest gun in the west; Sam Bass, whose last bank robbery was in Round Rock; and Soapy Smith, the most notorious “confidence” man of the day.
In the 1860′S a longhorn steer on the hoof brought $10.00 in Texas, $30.00 at the railhead in Kansas and as much as $40.00- $50.00 in Chicago and New York. This difference in pricing started the driving of large herds of cattle from Texas to Kansas along what became known as the Chisholm Trail. Many of the herds passed by the stagecoach depot because of the ford located at Brushy Creek.
The coming of the railroad to Round Rock in 1876 signaled the end of both the need for stagecoaches and long cattle drives. Most Round Rock businesses moved from the old settler’s area near the stage depot, to the rail terminal, about a mile east near present-day downtown Round Rock. The stagecoach depot became first a tavern and then a residence for a series of families, until its present-day conversion to French Quarter Round Rock, one of Williamson County’s finest restaurants.