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photo: country road Just Outside Austin: Rural Travis County Communities

Travis County | North Travis County | Pflugerville
Northeast Travis County | Manor | East Travis County | Sprinkle | Hunters Bend
Manchaca | West Travis County | Northwest Travis County | Wheatville

The town of Sprinkle was founded in 1881 by Captain Erasmus Frederick Sprinkle, who came from Virginia with his widowed daughter Cremora Barr and her four children. The family bought 223 acres of rolling blackland prairie in northeastern Travis County, in the valley of Big Walnut Creek. It was Sprinkle's ambitious and business-minded grandson, William Braxton Barr, who gets the credit for building the family businesses on family property into a town that served as a trading center for the surrounding countryside.

Today, virtually the only remnants of the Sprinkle community in northeast Travis County are the renovated Barr mansion and the name "Sprinkle Road." Sprinkle served the surrounding areas as a trading center and cotton processing station from the mid-1880s to the 1920s, largely because of the efforts of the Sprinkles and the Barrs.

Captain Sprinkle died in 1906 at the age of 93. His death, following so soon after Barr's early death in 1903, marked the beginning of the decline of the town of Sprinkle. The town also suffered the loss of young men and women to a typhoid fever epidemic, and to World War I. The Great Depression also hurt the town, as did the drop in cotton prices during the war. After these events, fewer residents and fewer economic reasons remained for the existence of the town. Buildings were gradually torn down, and today the only recognizable landmark in Sprinkle is the Barr Mansion, which may be rented for special events.

Photographic portrait of William Braxton Barr Just 18 years old when the family first settled there, W.B. Barr is seen in this later portrait as a confident and prosperous businessman.
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Photograph of general merchandise store in Sprinkle, Texas The area's economy was dependent primarily upon the cotton industry. W.B. Barr established several businesses to serve area farmers, including a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, a cotton gin, a corn mill, and a general merchandise store. In this 1893 exterior view of the store, Barr is seen in a bowler hat standing to the right of the barn door next to his white-bearded grandfather, Captain Sprinkle.
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Photograph of interior of general merchandise store in Sprinkle, Texas The store was a two-story structure with men's clothes located upstairs and dry goods and groceries downstairs. The Post Office was located in the back of the store until 1928. The receipt of a federal permit for the Post Office in 1885 is what gave the community of Sprinkle its official name. In this interior view of the store, Barr is seen on the far right.
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Photograph of Barr Residence in Sprinkle, Texas W.B. Barr married Matilda Birdwell and built near the store this elegant Victorian house for his family in 1898. The family also owned 13 rental houses and either sold or leased property to other settlers. One of Barr's cousins, for example, opened a small merchandise store and dairy. The town also had a frame school building for a time that boasted of a fifty-dollar book library and doubled as a church, since the Sprinkles and Barrs were firmly religious. By 1900, one hundred families received their mail at the Sprinkle Post Office.
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Photograph of horses and buggies on dirt road near Sprinkle, Texas Ginned cotton from Sprinkle had to be hauled to Austin cotton yards on dirt roads made difficult by unpredictable weather and several creeks, so Barr worked for many years to get a rail line through Sprinkle. He donated land to the state for a depot and watched the work begin, but died at the age of 38--just nine months before the MKT railroad arrived in September 1903. Four trains per day passed through town and could be stopped to pick up cotton from its one-eighth mile long loading platform.
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