County Seat: Marlin * Population 18,091
The Modern-style Falls County Courthouse was designed by Arthur E. Thomas. Erected in 1939, the building was fashioned from concrete, brick and stone.
Falls County was created in 1850 from Limestone and Milam counties, with Viesca as the county seat. However, residents protested saying Viesca was west of the Brazos River, and most of the citizens lived east of the river. The seat eventually was moved to Adams, which later was renamed Marlin.
The county put up $5,000 for an official courthouse in 1854. The white building, complete with dark green shutters and a yellow door, sat on a square enclosed by a wooden fence. Flames destroyed this first county capitol in the 1870s. The county occupied several other courthouses before settling into its current home.
Falls County welcomed its first railroad, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad, around 1870, leading to the establishment of Reagan and Perry. The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway made tracks in 1890-92, paving the way for Rosebud, Travis, Lott, Chilton and Satin. In 1902 the Missouri Pacific came through Marlin, and the towns of Eloise, Highbank, McClanahan and Otto came to life.
The area was named for the Brazos River Falls. When Anglo-Americans first settled in Texas, the water fell about 10 feet over a rocky ledge. The Indians and early settlers used the falls as a meeting point and campsite.
The falls served as a natural fording place for frontier travelers, as the rocky streambed was the only hard-bottom crossing of the Brazos River within 200 miles of the coast.
The Brazos River changed its course in 1866, moving the line of the falls to its present site and lowering the rapids to about 2 feet. A county park is now located along both sides of the Brazos River at the falls.
Along with the famous falls, the county also is known for its hot mineral springs discovered in 1891 in Marlin, prompting the development of a major health resort in the early 20th century.
In 1985 the county received special recognition by the state Legislature for developing a county flag to help celebrate the Texas sesquicentennial in 1986. The flag, 3 feet by 5 feet, has a large white star on a royal blue field, surrounded by two white arcs and 254 gold, red, blue and green stars.
Mrs. Joydelle Garrett Wolfram designed the flag, which can be adopted by any county by changing the name of the county that appears on the flag and the year of its organization.