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Belton, Texas
Downtown Belton near Bell County Courthouse
Downtown Belton near Bell County Courthouse
Flag of Belton, Texas
Official seal of Belton, Texas
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Location of Belton, Texas
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Country United States
State Texas
County Bell
Established 1850
Named for Peter H. Bell
 • Total 21.14 sq mi (54.74 km2)
 • Land 20.23 sq mi (52.39 km2)
 • Water 0.91 sq mi (2.35 km2)
509 ft (155 m)
 • Total 18,216
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,131.30/sq mi (436.79/km2)
 • Demonym
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 254
FIPS code 48-07492
GNIS feature ID 1351858
Interstates I-35 (TX).svg I-14 (TX).svg

Belton is a city in the U.S. state of Texas on the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and Waco. Belton is the county seat of Bell County and is the fifth largest city in the Killeen-Temple metropolitan area. In 2019, the population of Belton was 22,885, and the metro region had a population of 450,051 according to US Census estimates.


Belton is located near the center of Bell County at 31°3′32″N 97°27′48″W / 31.05889°N 97.46333°W / 31.05889; -97.46333 (31.058904, -97.463382). It is bordered to the northeast by the Leon River, across which is the city of Temple. Nolan Creek, a tributary of the Leon, runs through the center of Belton. The city limits extend south along Interstate 35 across the Lampasas River nearly to Salado.

By Interstate 35 it is 42 miles (68 km) north to Waco and 60 miles (97 km) south to Austin. Interstate 14/U.S. Route 190 leads west from Belton 16 miles (26 km) to Killeen.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.0 square miles (51.7 km2), of which 18.9 square miles (49.0 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), or 5.08%, is water.


Belton was platted in 1850 with the name of Nolandville. It was given its current name in 1851, named after Texas' governor, Peter Hansborough Bell. As the county seat of the like-named Bell County, the town seemed destined for growth. In 1868, Martha McWhirter, a prominent figure in Belton's nonsectarian Union Sunday School, created the only Texas women's communes of the 1800s. Thomas W. Cochran of H.M Cook and Company, which later became Cochran, Blair and Potts, once threatened fisticuffs against Martha McWhirter in the middle of East Central Avenue, yelling her down and telling her that if she wished to live like a man, then by God she should be prepared to fight like one in the streets. 15 of her fellow commune members ran out into the street behind her with pitchforks and other farm implements. Mr. Cochran was humiliated and forced to back down, and remained a mortal enemy of McWhirter from that moment on, and forced the commune to flee to Maryland in 1899 when he refused to sell dry goods to the commune's hotel, Central Hotel. The 1880s marked the town's brightest age, with the building of the courthouse, Baylor Female College buildings, and a "railroad war" in which, by 1881, Belton was bypassed by the railroad which built Temple as the local junction and depot town. In 1913 the city experienced a major flood, leading to the naming of Yettie Polk Park, for Mrs. Yettie Tobler Polk, one of those who died. The town began to thrive again following the creation of Fort Hood in 1942.


Bell county expo center 2014
Bell County Expo Center in Belton.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 281
1880 1,797 539.5%
1890 3,000 66.9%
1900 3,700 23.3%
1910 4,164 12.5%
1920 5,098 22.4%
1930 3,779 −25.9%
1940 3,572 −5.5%
1950 6,246 74.9%
1960 8,163 30.7%
1970 8,696 6.5%
1980 10,660 22.6%
1990 12,476 17.0%
2000 14,623 17.2%
2010 18,216 24.6%
2019 (est.) 22,885 25.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,623 people, 4,742 households, and 3,319 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,171.3 people per square mile (452.4/km2). There were 5,089 housing units at an average density of 407.6 per square mile (157.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.67% White, 8.10% African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 14.83% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25.13% of the population.

There were 4,742 households, out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.9% under the age of 18, 18.4% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,052, and the median income for a family was $38,635. Males had a median income of $31,304 versus $20,678 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,345. About 12.7% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest

Downtown Belton near Nolan Creek at night

The Bell County Expo Center is located in Belton and is the venue for many concerts, sporting events, and various ceremonies.

For recreation, Belton has two major lakes: Belton Lake on the Leon River, and Stillhouse Hollow Lake on the Lampasas River. There is also a water park, Summer Fun Water Park.


Belton is home of the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, housed in the Bell County Expo Center.


Entrance sign, UMHB, Belton, TX IMG 5551
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Belton is served by the Belton Independent School District. The school district operates three high schools, four middle schools and nine elementary schools. Among the most notable of these schools is Belton high school, lake belton middle school, and Pirtle elementary. The district and all of its campuses received the Texas Education Agency's highest accountability rating (met standard) based on student performance on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness. Both Belton High School & Belton New Tech High School have been included on lists of the nation's best high schools compiled by US News & World Report and Newsweek. Belton New Tech High School and South Belton Middle School have been recognized as Apple Distinguished Schools for their implementation of the district's digital learning initiative. Belton also has a daycare called Belton early childhood school.

Falling in Temple, TX city limits but within the boundaries of Belton Independent School District is Central Texas Christian School a private Christian K–12 school with an enrollment of approximately 570 students.

Higher education

Belton is home to the University of Mary Hardin–Baylor. Founded in 1845, it is a private Christian university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Awarding degrees at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels it has an enrollment of 3,898.

Notable people

  • David Ash, football player, graduated from Belton High School
  • Danny Barnes, musician
  • George Eads, actor, graduated from Belton High School
  • Miriam Amanda Wallace "Ma" Ferguson, first female Governor of Texas
  • Jerry Grote, MLB baseball player, lives in Belton
  • Rick Hoberg, comic artist of All-Star Squadron, Green Arrow and The Stangers
  • Chris Marion, musician, of the Little River Band was born in Belton
  • Khiry Robinson, NFL football player
  • Ricky Sanders, NFL football player, graduated from Belton High School
  • Pat Seals, musician, from the alternative rock band Flyleaf
  • Walton Walker, U.S. Army general officer killed in action in the Korean War
  • Henry T. Waskow, the basis of a famous article by Ernie Pyle, was a Belton native
  • William Wilbanks, American criminologist, Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame member
  • Rudy Youngblood, actor, graduated from Belton High School

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