Texas Hill Country

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Texas Hill Country
Region
HCSNApano2wiki.jpg
View from Hill Country State Natural Area in Bandera County
Country United States
State Texas
Region Central Texas
Coordinates 30°10′27″N 99°03′55″W / 30.17417°N 99.06528°W / 30.17417; -99.06528
TEXAS HILL COUNTRY Latitude and Longitude:

30°10′27″N 99°03′55″W / 30.17417°N 99.06528°W / 30.17417; -99.06528
Highest point
 - elevation 750 m (2,461 ft)
Lowest point
 - elevation 300 m (984 ft)
656px-Texas Hill Country Map.png
Map of Texas Hill Country
Website: Handbook of Texas: Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is a geographical region located in the Edwards Plateau at the crossroads of West Texas, Central Texas, and South Texas. Given its geographical location, terrain features, and native vegetation, the Hill Country could be considered the beginning or end of the American Southwest (depending on which direction one is travelling). The region is notable for its karst topography and tall rugged hills of limestone or granite. [1] Many of the hills rise to a height of 400-500 feet above the surrounding plains and valleys, with Packsaddle Mountain rising to a height of 800 feet above the Llano River in Kingsland. [2] The Hill Country also includes the Llano Uplift and the second-largest granite dome in the United States, Enchanted Rock. The terrain throughout the region is punctuated by a thin layer of topsoil and a large number of exposed rocks and boulders, making the region very dry and prone to flash flooding. Native vegetation in the region includes various yucca, prickly pear cactus, desert spoon, and wildflowers in the Llano Uplift. The predominant trees in the region are ashe juniper and Texas live oak. [3]

Bound on the east by the Balcones Escarpment, the Hill Country reaches into the far northern portions of San Antonio and the western portions of Austin. As a result of springs discharging water stored in the Edwards Aquifer, several cities such as Austin, San Marcos, and New Braunfels were settled at the base of the Balcones Escarpment. The region's economy is one of the fastest growing in the United States. [4] [5]

Counties included

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the following 25 counties are included in the Texas Hill Country: [6]

History

During the American Civil War, due to its large, pro-Union, German immigrant population, the Texas Hill Country was opposed to Texas seceding from the Union. [1]

Geography

Because of its karst topography, the area also features a number of caverns, such as Inner Space Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, Bracken Cave, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Cascade Caverns, Caverns of Sonora and Cave Without a Name. The deeper caverns of the area form several aquifers which serve as a source of drinking water for the residents of the area. Wonder Cave in San Marcos was formed by an earthquake along the Balcones Fault.

Several tributaries of the Colorado River of Texas — including the Llano and Pedernales rivers, which cross the region west to east and join the Colorado as it cuts across the region to the southeast – drain a large portion of the Hill Country. The Guadalupe, San Antonio, Frio, Medina, and Nueces rivers originate in the Hill Country.

This region is a dividing line for certain species occurrence. For example, the California Fan Palm ( Washingtonia filifera) is the only species of palm tree that is native to the continental United States west of the Hill Country's Balcones Fault. [7]

The region has hot summers, particularly in July and August, and even the nighttime temperatures remain high, as the elevation is modest despite the hilly terrain. Winter temperatures are sometimes[ specify] as much as ten degrees cooler than in other parts of Texas to the east.[ citation needed]

In popular culture

The area is also unique[ citation needed] for its fusion of Spanish and German influences in food, beer, architecture, and music that form a distinctively "Texan" culture separate from the state's Southern and Southwestern influences. [1] For example, the accordion was popularized in Tejano music in the 19th century due to cultural exposure to German settlers.

Devil's Backbone appeared in a 1996 episode of NBC's Robert Stack anthology series Unsolved Mysteries, featuring ghosts of Spanish monks, Comanche as well as Lipan Apache Native Americans, Confederate soldiers on their horses, and a spirit of a wolf. It later re-aired when this series was hosted by Dennis Farina.

The region has emerged as the center of the Texas wine industry.[ citation needed] Three American Viticultural Areas are located in the areas: Texas Hill Country AVA, Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA, and Bell Mountain AVA.

The Hill Country is also known for its tourism. In 2008, The New York Times listed the Hill Country in an article about North American vacation destinations. [8] Hill Country has also made Texas second to Florida as the most popular retirement destination in the United States. The region has attracted Baby Boomers as they near retirement age. [9]

Frederick Day, a demographer with Texas State University, said that the Hill Country life-style reminds one of the small towns of the recent past. "Like old America . . . [the] cost of living is pretty low. To people who have spent their work life in Houston or Dallas, the Hill Country is very attractive." [9]

Notable people


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