Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

  Broom Factory
Historical Marker
in
Round Rock, Texas
 
 
Old Broom Factory
Mays Street at Main St.
Erected in 1876


 
  Marker Text
Erected in 1876. Victorian-style building has ashlar-cut limestone front with stepped parapet and keystone arches. During prosperous railroad era, housed Round Rock Broom Company (1887?-1912), an important local business. (Broom made here won a gold medal at St. Louis World's Fair, 1904.) Building also housed general store, furniture store, school, skating rink, and car repair shop. Roger Burleson, owner, preserved structure, 1969. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1970

 
 

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GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 30.50883 - Longitude: -97.678671



 

 

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Broom Factory Building
Historical Narrative
 
The original name for the structure and the identity of the architect remain unknown. Rock material used in the building is of fine limestone obtained along the banks of Brushy Creek, a short distance away.
 
The earliest record shows a deed dated July 29, 1876, in which the Texas Land Company conveyed to J. J. Tobin and W. H. Tobin, lot 9 in block 22 in the town of Round Rock. Building measuring 30 feet in width and 125 feet in length, recorded in Book 25, page 315 of deed records of Williamson County. The consideration named in said deed was $510.00 which the records farther show was paid in cash. The following year J. J. Tobin and W. H. Tobin deeded the building to R. D. Harris on July 30, 1877, for the consideration of t1,100.00 cash in hand paid. Robert D. Harris, by warranty deed dated Sept. 19, 1879 conveyed to Washington A. Taliaferro an undivided one half interest for the consideration of t315.00 cash in hand paid. A succession of owners followed thereafter.
 
Indications favor this building as the oldest of the town's larger native stone structures. In a letter written from Round Rock dated April 5, 1877, Adrian Percy, an early visitor, refers to the Henry Koppel building (Robertson's) as the first in rock here. He farther describes a building which appears to be this one as "a prominent corner store occupied by A Steenbeck & Company as a dry goods, grocery and general store." Across from the "red light sign" of Mr. Steenbeck is the Morrow Building, a two story structure. This building was demolished about forty years ago.
 
Early accounts describe the growth of the new town as quite rapid after the first sale of lots July 20, 1876. Deed for the so-called Morrow building three months later by way of comparison might suggest 1876 as the most likely date for this structure.
 
About 1884, the building is remembered as Shucy's Furniture Store by one of Round Rock's oldest citizens, Mr. Luke Robertson. A dental office is said to have been upstairs. This portion of the building was also used as a temporary school house in 1914 and in the early 1920's as an amusement center with skating and dancing the main attractions. However the most important use of the building was to house the Round Rock Broom Factory. This occurred from about 1887 until the factory relocated south of the railroad in 1912.
 
In 1890 S. L. Landrum of Round Rock and Will Steele of Georgetown bought the business and installed its first gasoline engine. About ten years later, all new equipment was purchased by a partnership of Mr. Landrum, J. A. Nelson and J. D. Robertson. It was here in 1904 that the Company became famous for its Gold Medal prize at the World's Fair in St. Louis. The broom being designed by Mr. Landrum and made by H. L. Chambers. Broom corn was stored and sorted on the ground floor of the building while the finished product was manufactured upstairs. A two story building in back of and adjoining the rock structure was also used.
 
The Round Rock Broom Company was first established in 1876 by Will Oates. In the same year William Walsh founded the Round Rock White Lime Company. These two pioneer industries, although not so spectacular in capital as the early Lumber business, prospered slowly and were perhaps second only to the railroad (1876) in the development of the town.

The building has six well defined arches above double doorways. There are eight chimneys with rock flues concealed in solid walls about. two feet thick. Changes from the original appearance occurred in 1920 when the front entrance was widened for use as a garage. Another opening on the west side replaced a window. A front awning has been removed. Since then, the building has been used continuously as a garage.
 
This building was restored in 1969 by Roger Burleson.

 
 

 

 



 
 

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