Hempstead Real Estate
Hempstead real estate continues a long-standing tradition of agriculture, community, and hospitality that flourishes in this rich Texas soil. We are a small town with a big heart, and we are proud to call Hempstead home.
Our Hempstead History
Hempstead shares a familiar historical story with other townships in this section of Texas. Like many of our neighboring communities, Hempstead real estate began with the land grant from Mexico to Stephen F. Austin after the end of the war establishing Texas as part of the United States.
Originally slated to draw 300 families to this area along the Brazos River, Austin's colonization project is still one of the most successful real estate developments in history. You might see our 19 Texas counties referred to as "The Old 300," with respect to the initial terms of the settlement clause.
The fertile land and proximity to a steady supply of water generated immense interest for farmers and their families. One farmer, in particular, was Jared E. Groce II, his eldest son Leonard (who built Liendo Plantation, read on for more information), and a reported 50 covered wagons full of their necessities, landed here to set up shop in the early 1820s.
Groce was a prosperous plantation owner and manager and passed along his skills to his children who inherited his business and land holdings. His namesake, Jared Groce III owned the land on which our town currently resides. After Groce III had passed, his widow remarried Dr. R.R. Peebles, who sold the parcel to a development company to build up a township. As thanks, the corporation let Dr. Peebles name the site, and he did so after a relative who paid for his education.
Roots and Rail Lines
Hempstead is part of the extensive Houston metroplex and is the county seat of Waller County. We are 50 miles northwest of downtown Houston, and according to historians, where Sam Houston and his weary troops came to regroup during the war with Mexico in the spring of 1836.
The Houston and Texas Central Railway helped establish the town in the mid-1850s as a distribution center from the Gulf to Central Texas. In the 1940s, Hempstead took the top spot for shipping watermelons. Historical records report people traveling from all over the region to buy a "Hempstead melon." As a tribute to those days, Hempstead holds a watermelon festival every summer.
Hempstead Real Estate with Historical Significance
Built by the Ahrenbeck family in the 1870s, Hempstead was home to the first oil mill in the state of Texas. William Ahrenbeck was a mayor and postmaster of Hempstead during his time here. The family's legacy lives on thanks to the preservation of their primary residence, the Ahrenbeck-Urban home.
The Ahrenbeck-Urban home is a local, but not public, attraction on Lafayette Street, and the lot is a portion of the original land sold to Hempstead Town Company from Dr. Peebles.
The construction date of the house is unknown, but writing on the wood walls gives us a clue. Planks in what was at one time the library read "Sept. 1872," the same year the plot of land transferred into the hands of William Ahrenbeck's wife, Justine. Their daughter Ella lived in the house until 1917, when she sold it to R.R. Urban. Today the home is a private residence and proudly hosts a Texas Historical Marker on the grounds.
Liendo Plantation, just outside of town, dates back to 1853 when Leonard Groce built the Greek Revival-style home as the base for his cotton enterprise, one of the earliest cotton farms established in Texas. Groce purchased the 67,000-acre estate from Stephen F. Austin, who acquired it from Justo Liendo in 1830.
When the Civil War reached our community, Liendo suffered along with everyone else involved in the war efforts. Human and economic resources shifted from sustaining the business and crops to fighting for a chosen cause. Liendo Plantation shifted gears from commerce to consideration to form Camp Groce during the war. General Custer was one of the most famous participants to grace the halls during that time.
Liendo continued to attract famous residents after the war was over. Elizabet Ney, the artisan who crafted the sculptures of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston that welcome visitors to the state capitol building in Austin.
Currently, Liendo is a private residence, but the owners graciously offer scheduled tours and host a Civil War reenactment once a year.
Interested in making Hempstead your home? Contact Myke to schedule a preview of Hempstead real estate for sale.