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Founder’s stone now welcomes visitors to Marble Falls history museum

Marble Falls founder's stone at The Falls on the Colorado Museum

The Falls on the Colorado Museum board members, Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Department employees, and Cottonwood Shores architect Marley Porter (far right) stand around the city of Marble Falls founder’s stone on Monday, April 11, after it was moved to its new site. In the background is the old granite school building at 2001 Broadway St. where the museum is housed. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

The founder’s stone for the city of Marble Falls has a new home after it was moved to The Falls on the Colorado Museum on Monday, April 11. It is one of several heavy pieces of history that Cottonwood Shores architect Marley Porter plans to include in an “arrival portal” for the museum, located at 2001 Broadway St. 

“We are bridging the past with the future, and that is what a museum is all about,” Porter said. “This will make people stop and think about the founding of this city before they go up the original granite steps to the old elementary school that is now the museum.” 

The move was a joint project between the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and the museum. 

The stone sits on a 15-foot circular concrete slab that is divided by the original sidewalk to the historic building. 

A steel, life-size cutout of Gen. Adam Rankin Johnson soon will be placed next to the stone, replicating an iconic photograph of the blind man who founded Marble Falls that hangs just inside the museum’s entrance. The silhouette will include Johnson’s cane and dark glasses. 

Four seats will be placed around the circle, Porter said. 

City of Marble Falls founder's stone
Carved onto the founder’s stone are the words ‘Marble Falls, Initial Monument, July 12, 1887.’ Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

Three pieces of old Texas drill stem also have been installed at the start of the sidewalk by the parking lot. A large piece of the old U.S. 281 bridge that was demolished in 2013 to make way for the new one will be suspended from the stems. 

“Drill stem is very historical to Texas because of our oil,” Porter said. “People will walk under it, up the sidewalk to the founder’s stone, and walk around that and almost have to shake hands with Mr. Johnson, the founder, to get to the museum.” 

Originally placed near the old factory building on the north shoreline of Lake Marble Falls, the founder’s stone already has been moved a few times. It spent part of its past 135 years in a garden area next to City Hall and on a grassy knoll next to Chili’s restaurant on the north side of the 281 bridge, the closest it’s been to its original location. 

Carved onto the granite face of the 1,750-pound stone are the words “Marble Falls, Initial Monument, July 12, 1887.” 

“It was being forgotten where it was; it couldn’t be appreciated,” said Robyn Richter, chair of The Falls on the Colorado Board of Directors. “The city was agreeable to put it somewhere it could be highlighted.” 

When asked how long it would take to complete the current project, Porter had a weighty answer. 

“History is in the making as we’re doing this,” he said. “It won’t ever be finished. I’ll be working on it my whole life. We will all be working to continue the legacy, to contribute to our historical past.”