Looking back, I can confidently say that I have driven past Jarrell, Texas no less than 100 times in my life–and yet, it took the shockingly photogenic Old Jarrell Gas Station (pictured above) to get us to visit.
And, as is almost always the case when it comes to exploring a new corner of Texas, I’m glad we did.
Here’s what to know about this small Texas town, plus what to do in Jarrell!
A Brief History of Jarrell
If you’ve heard of Jarrell, it’s probably due to its famous tragedy.
On May 27, 1997, a violent and deadly tornado ripped through the outskirts of the town, claiming 27 lives and decimating property along the way.
It was an absolutely heartbreaking occurrence. For more detail, you can read more about the tornado here.
The history of Jarrell, though, of course, extends far beyond the tragic tornado of 1997.
The town was originally founded in 1909 by the real estate developer O.D. Jarrell.
In its early years, the town was prosperous, thanks in no small part to the railroads that passed through.
Eventually, though, the railroads closed, and the cotton industry that was important to the town’s economy also took an enormous beating in the 1920s and 1930s. The town shrank to the point of almost disappearing.
Fast forward, and today, Jarrell became an incorporated city in 2001.
The population has continued to swell in the last 20 years and is about 2,500 today.
Where is Jarrell, TX?
Jarrell, Texas is located just off of the I-35 corridor, about 12 miles north of Georgetown.
It’s roughly an hour (traffic dependent, of course) north of Austin or south of Waco.
Things to Do in Jarrell, Texas
Honestly, from a tourist perspective, there are not many things to do in Jarrell–but here are a few interesting spots to check out when you’re in town!
Snap photos of the Old Jarrell Gas Station.
The Old Jarrell Gas Station is a gas station no longer: today, it is a charmingly picturesque vintage and antique store.
It’s incredibly eye-catching, and well worth a stop when shopping for vintage items or even just exploring roadside attractions in Texas.
The store was closed when we visited, so we didn’t get to peruse much, but we did happen to run into the extremely kind and welcoming owners out front!
… and the other historic buildings in town.
Despite the damage from the tornado, many of Jarrell’s early-2oth century buildings still survive and are put to various uses around town.
Examples of surviving buildings include the original Jarrell Post Office, the Glass Hotel building, and Jarrell High School.
Grab a bite to eat at The Granary.
This small but charming collection of food trucks is a great lunch spot for travelers passing through the I-35 corridor!
Featuring everything from muffulettas to coffee to barbecue, plus shaded picnic tables and plenty of room to stretch your legs, it’s a great road trip stop and an easy way to support local businesses in Jarrell.
Track down Jarrell’s historic cemeteries.
Jarrell is home to two historic cemeteries: Corn Hill Cemetery and Land Cemetery.
Both date to the late 19th century, and therefore, are older than the city of Jarrell itself!
What’s Next for Jarrell
Though Jarrell, TX has been growing for a few decades now, I’m personally excited to see where it is in another 5, 10, or even 20 years.
With housing developments breaking ground right along I-35 and the population explosion happening in Austin and its surrounding areas, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a much larger Jarrell when we revisit in the future!