The area where the Llano and Colorado Rivers meet has long been a gathering place and resort area. The Indians, then the settlers, including Martin King for whom Kingsland is named, first used it. In 1892, the Austin and Northwestern Railroad built a bridge across the Colorado River, and a depot in Kingsland. Kingsland is fifteen miles southeast of Llano in east central Llano County.
Today Kingsland is popular second home and vacation destination. Homes for sale in Kingsland range from modest abodes, to million dollar plus waterfront estates. The Kingsland real estate market is dynamic, and trend setting. Developments such as The Harbors on Lake LBJ offer the perfect getaway. Gated communities with carefree Villas – what more could you ask for? Clearwater Landing, on the Colorado Arm of Lake LBJ is an exclusive waterfront community offering lake access and breathtaking Hill Country panoramas.
The Enclave at the Legends offers supreme waterfront homes, golf course homes, and view properties all in a gated community.
Railroad interests built the Antlers Hotel, a Kingsland landmark. Kingsland had a reported population of 750 in 1907 but suffered a temporary decline, aggravated by a fire in 1922; in 1925, the population was reported as 150. The opportunities afforded by the Highland Lakes for retirement and recreational businesses had revived Kingsland by the mid-1960s as an regional commercial center, and in 1986 it had numerous businesses, including a national bank.
Construction on the Hotel began in 1900 and the Antlers Hotel opened on May 1, 1901. Newspapers hanging around the hotel show events on that date including the cross-country trip by President William McKinley who toured Austin on May 3, 1901.
The Antlers Hotel was named, in part, for the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, a new and fashionable railroad resort that opened a few years earlier. The name also takes meaning from the fact that Llano County was then and continues to be a major deer hunting area.
To the west of the hotel is a bunkhouse that hotel staff and train crews used. Just north of the bunkhouse is a small three-room cabin that was typical of several cabins spaced around the property. The architectural details of the hotel, bunkhouse, and cabin indicate that they were constructed during the same period. Across the road from the bunkhouse is the house of the Section Master who presided over a section of the railroad. Jerry Kelly of Houston, whose father worked for, and bought the house from the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1940’s, now owns this house. The Kingsland Depot was directly in front of the hotel, between the main line and the sidetrack that still exist. In the field in front of the hotel, which is now the parking lot of the Old Town Grill, was a large wooden pavilion used for dances and community gatherings. Pictures of these structures are in the second floor lobby.
1900 and 1901 were a time of consolidations in the railroad industry. The Austin and Northwestern Railroad began construction of the hotel and by the time it opened in 1901, the Houston and Texas Central Railroad had acquired the railroad and its hotel. The cast iron pot-bellied stove in the dining room carries the H&TCR logo or the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
The hotel was a fashionable resort and on weekends, the railroad ran excursion trains out from Austin. The hotel also served traveling salesmen or "drummers" and cattlemen. The hotel operated successfully until the 20’s when automobile travel eroded the reliance on train excursions. The novelty of the lake by the rails faded as a vacation destination and the hotel closed in 1923.
A fire destroyed much of Kingsland in 1922 and the town was in decline. The Barrow family, who used it as a family retreat for 70 years until 1993, purchased the property in 1923. In 1993, an Austin investor purchased the hotel, and went through over two years of renovation under the direction of Anthony Mayfield. It reopened on September 1, 1996 with Lori and Anthony Mayfield as managers. Today the property features the restored hotel, several restored cabins, and a few additions like the brightly colored cabooses, a new country store and conference center. Many turn-of-the-century buildings have been moved to the grounds from neighboring towns for restoration.
Packsaddle Mountain is an area landmark that stands five miles southwest of Kingsland in eastern Llano County and is of interest to both historians and geologists. Its twin-peaked silhouette resembles a saddle from some perspectives. Intriguing traces of gold, silver and other minerals have been reported in the sands of Honey Creek and the mountainside. It is said to be the location of the Los Almagres mine, the object of Jim Bowie's searches for several years; records indicate that the Spanish operated a mine in the region. Prospecting on Packsaddle Mountain renewed interest in gold mining in Llano County in the 1920s, but with no lasting result. At an elevation of 1,628 feet, the higher of the two summits rises 650 feet above U.S. Highway 71. Local topography ranges from flat to rolling to steep, with local escarpments, covered with soils ranging from shallow and stony to deep, fine, sandy loams. Vegetation consists primarily of open stands of live oak and Ashe juniper.
The mountain was the site of the Packsaddle Mountain Fight with Apache Indians on August 5, 1873, the last major Indian battle in the area.
The Kingsland area is served by Marble Falls Indepentent School District and the Llano Independent School District.