WATERLOO, TEXAS (Williamson County). Waterloo is a community on Pecan Creek and Farm Road 619, four miles northeast of Taylor in eastern Williamson County. Though there were settlers in the area by the 1880s, the town really took shape after Josiah W. Rainwater built a store on the site about 1890. When a post office was opened in 1893, it along with the community were named Waterloo after Rainwater's hometown in Kentucky. At different times in the 1890s the community had two churches, a drugstore, a post office, a school, a blacksmith shop, and a cotton gin. The Waterloo school was the eighth largest district school in Williamson County in 1903. Waterloo declined in the early decades of the twentieth century, losing its post office in 1904 and shrinking to a population of ten in 1933. Though the Waterloo school was consolidated with that of Thrall in 1949, the community revived somewhat in the 1940s, and had an estimated population of sixty in 1949 through 2000. The Waterloo Gin operates today.
WATERLOO, TEXAS (Travis County) was once the name of what is now called Austin, Texas, located in the central Texas area and situated on the north bank of the Colorado River approximately at the site of the present-day Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. Jacob Harrell, a hunter, and his family erected a tent on the river bank in 1835 and were early settlers in the area. After Republic of Texas Vice President Mirabeau B. Lamar visited the area during a buffalo-hunting expedition between 1837 and 1838, he proposed that the republic's capital be relocated here from Houston, Texas. The town was surveyed by Edward Burleson in 1838. The five-man commission appointed in January 1839 to select the capital location were sent by President Lamar to visit the area where they found four families living near Harrell's split-log stockade. They named the town Waterloo. In 1839, the site was officially chosen as the republic's new capital (the republic's seventh and final location) and was incorporated under the name, Waterloo. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" and the republic's first secretary of state, and the name of Waterloo was dropped. Adjacent land nearby was relinquished by Logan Vandeveer, James Rogers, J. D. Hancock, J. W. Harrell, and Aaron B. Burleson. The most desirable spot in the 7,735-acre site was chosen for the capitol building. The new town was surveyed, and the first lots were sold in August 1839.