Tow Texas

Tow, Texas

Fall Creek Vineyards Tow Texas

Fall Creek Vineyards Tow Texas

Tow is a small community in Llano County, Texas inhabited by 1,249 people (Source: 2010 Census). It is not yet incorporated.

The residents of the community pronounce the name as if it rhymed with “cow”.

The oldest settlement in Llano County was founded in 1852 by Cowan family from Tennessee. The family used to run a salt bed on the Colorado River which supplied salt to the residents of the area as well as the Confederate army during the Civil War. The salt operation was destroyed by a tornado in 1871.

William Tow settled in the area in 1853 and is the namesake of the town. He named his place of settlement as Tow Valley. A post office was set up in 1886 and the name “Tow” was accepted as the town name. Since the 1970s, the town has become a prominent retirement destination.

The town never saw the increase in population that other towns see; however, the town’s population grew from 50 in the mid-20th century to over 300 in the 1970s. The state map currently shows the population as 305.

Geography of Tow

The town is located on the Ranch Road 2241 on the west shore of the Lake Buchanan. Austin is located 61 miles to the southeast; Llano is 20 miles to the southwest.


The area has a humid subtropical climate (Source: Köppen Climate Classification system). The summers are hot and humid while the winters are mild to cool.

History of Tow

Tow Texas Fishing

Tow Texas Fishing

It is the oldest settlement in Llano County. The first residents were the Cowan Family who started a successful saltworks operation near the Colorado River. The operation was known as the Confederate States of America Salt Works for its prominence and its contribution to the Confederate war effort. A cyclone destroyed the salt work in 1871. In 1853 the Family of John F. Morgan settled in the area and started a hat business. They used beaver and other fur available locally to make their hats. Soon the Tow brothers settled in the area and gave their name to the town. A post office was set up in 1886 and was named after Tow; Matthew B. Clendenen served as the first postmaster.

The town grew after the 1970s and developed as a retirement and recreation haven. The growth led to an increase in population from 50 in 1950 to more than 300 in 1974 with many businesses in the area. By the year 2000 the town had 305 residents and 31 businesses.


The students from Tow mostly attend schools under the Llano Independent School District; however, some areas are served by the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District.

If you are interested in Real Estate in the Texas Hill Country, please feel free to contact Tom Ashworth (208)830-7991.


Bee Cave Texas

Bee Cave, Texas

Bee Cave Texas

Bee Cave Texas

The city of Bee cave is located in Travis County in the state of Texas. The city was inhabited by 3,925 inhabitants according to the 2010 Census.

The original Bee Cave village was formed as a Type-A General Law city with an Alderman-Mayor form of Government. The Village of Bee Cave was officially changed to the City of Bee Cave in 2006. The voters of the city approved the new Home Rule Charter in February, 2013. The operation of the City government is overseen by policies made by the elected City Council. The City Manager, appointed by the Council functions as the administrative head of the City. The Council has six members these include a Mayor and five Council members. The Council elections are held annually on the first Saturday of May and the members are elected to a two years staggered term.

Geography of Bee Cave

The co-ordinates for the city are: 30°18′20″N 97°57′08″W. Austin city is located about 12 miles to the west in the Western Travis County.

The city spans an area of 2.6 sq. miles and all of it is land (Source: U.S. Census).

Education in Bee Cave

Bee Cave Hamilton Pool

Bee Cave Hamilton Pool

Students in the City attend schools in the Lake Travis Independent School District. There are three elementary schools in the area: Bee Cave Elementary School, Pointe School Elementary School in an unincorporated area and Lake Elementary School in Lakeway. Older students attend Lake Travis Middle School and Lake Travis High School both of which are built on unincorporated areas.


The headquarters of the American Campus Communities are situated in Buildings S and T in the Hill County Galleria shopping development in Bee Cave city. The company offices were supposed to open there in December 2010.

In Pop Culture

The spin-off literature for the popular multiplayer shooter video game “Team Fortress 2” lists “the Engineer” a character who dons a hat cap and is an expert in laying murderous traps as a native of Bee Cave.

The Texas Legislature, in 2007 passed a resolution declaring Bee Cave as the location for the West Pole of Earth.


The Police department in the city of Bee Cave has 12 officers. The Police patrols the Bee Cave under the command of the current Police Chief.


The population of Bee Cave city was reported to be 656 in 2000 Census which grew to 3,935 in 2010 Census and was estimated to be 5,125 in 2013.

The Median Household Income in Bee Cave is as follows:

Total households 3,998 +/-180 3,998 (X)
Less than $10,000 76 +/-52 1.9% +/-1.3
$10,000 to $14,999 34 +/-32 0.9% +/-0.8
$15,000 to $24,999 83 +/-43 2.1% +/-1.1
$25,000 to $34,999 114 +/-54 2.9% +/-1.4
$35,000 to $49,999 257 +/-96 6.4% +/-2.4
$50,000 to $74,999 544 +/-127 13.6% +/-3.0
$75,000 to $99,999 526 +/-132 13.2% +/-3.2
$100,000 to $149,999 758 +/-151 19.0% +/-3.9
$150,000 to $199,999 620 +/-152 15.5% +/-3.7
$200,000 or more 986 +/-140 24.7% +/-3.3
Median household income (dollars) 121,522 +/-15,352 (X) (X)


History of Bee Cave city

Bee Cave Hamilton Pool

Bee Cave Hamilton Pool

The city was named by the early settlers after the large cave of wild bees in the area. The first post office in the area opened in 1870 and was named Bee Caves Post Office.

The city has a rich tradition. The area was inhabited and built by people who did not want to live under the influence of “big city” government, and that has been the allure of the city for over 140 years. In 1850’s Dietrich Bohls shifted from Austin to the confluence of Barton Creek and Little Barton Creek to set up a home as he considered Austin city to be too crowded and a bad influence on his family. In 1850’s the area still had roaming Indians. The Bohls family was one of the first to settle the area known as Bee Cave now. The Area got its name from the Mexican honeybee colonies between the banks of Barton Creek and Little Barton Creek in the Western Travis County. In 1987 the administration of the City had its beginning in a small nondescript building. The city covers an area of 2 sq. miles and has 8000-acres of land under extraterritorial jurisdiction

If you are interested in Real Estate in the Texas Hill Country, please feel free to contact Tom Ashworth (208)830-7991.


Bertram Texas

Bertram, Texas

Bertram Texas Train Depot

Bertram Texas Train Depot

The city of Bertram, Texas is a small and welcoming city with 1300 inhabitants. It is situated at the intersection of TX HWY 29, FM 243 and RM1174. The state capital, Austin is 45 miles to the southeast of the city. The annual Oatmeal Festival, several top novelty businesses and train depot, restored by the Austin Steam Train Association are the main attractions of the City. The Bertram Elementary School from grades K-5 has the highest (exemplary) rating for any Texas school in the last four years. The older students in the city attend excellent middle and high schools located ten miles to the west of the city under the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District.

For its size, the city of Bertram has very advanced infrastructure. The water supply is excellent; there is a waste water treatment facility and a full time Police department. There is motel, convenience stores and a Dollar General store. The area is crime free, rural and idyllic, making the place a stress-free and excellent place to live.

Geography of Bertram city

The city is in Eastern County at 30°44′39″N 98°03′21″W. Burnet city is located 10 miles to the west and downtown Austin is 43 miles to the southeast.

Bertram spans an area of 1.2 sq. miles all of which is land. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

History of Burnet city

Bertram Texas Dance Hall

Bertram Texas Dance Hall

The city is located at the meeting point of FM243, FM1174 and SH29. Burnet city is 10 miles to the east. In 1882, the town was established when the San Gabriel community moved two miles northwest to the Austin and Northwestern Railroad. This new settlement was named after Rudolph Bertram who was the largest stockholder in the Austin and Northwestern Railroad.  In 1882 a post office was set up and by 1891 the population had increased to 150. Soon the area had a cotton gin-gristmill, 3 general provisions stores, grocery store, a blacksmith, shoe shop and 2 wagon makers.  After 1900, Bertram transformed into a shipping point for cotton, livestock and wool. In 1928 11,624 cotton bales were ginned in the Bertram.

In the early 1930’s the Great depression and the falling cotton prices led to emigration from the town. The population had fallen from 1000 in 1929 to 550 in 1931. The population recovered to 600 in 1949 and in 1966 had increased to 1,205. By 1989 the town’s population was 1,002 with nineteen businesses. The main industries in Bertram at the time were:

  • Ceramic floor tiles manufacture
  • Tile pavement
  • Marbles fixtures
  • Vacuum-formed and molded plastic production.

The population of the area was 849 according to the 1990 Census Report.

Demographics of Bertram

(Source: U.S. Census, 2000)

There were 1,112 inhabitants with 387 households and 280 families in the City. The average population density was 1,031.3 people per sq. mile. The number of housing units was 434 at 398.9 households per sq. mile.

The racial makeup of the city was:

  • White: 88.24%
  • African American: 0.89%
  • Native American: 0.62
  • Pacific Islander: 0.09%
  • Other Races: 9.09%
  • Two or more Races: 1.07%
  • Hispanic/Latino (any race): 21.21%

Of the 387 households in the area 36.2% had children less than 18 years living with them. 62% had married couples in them, 7.2% had female householder without husband and 27.4% of the households were non-families. Individuals made up 25.6% and people aged 65 years or older made up 13.7% of the households. The average household and family size was 2.69 and 3.24 respectively.

Age distribution of the city:

  • Less than 18 years: 24.6%
  • 18-24 years: 8.7%
  • 25-44 years: 27.5%
  • 45-64 years: 20.7%
  • 65 years or older: 18.5%
  • Median age: 37 years
  • There were 90.2 males for every 100.2 females and for every 100 females aged 18 or above, 88.2 males were present.
  • Median income (household): $36,250
  • Median income (family): $42,031
  • Median income (males): $29,688
  • Median income (females): $20,179.
  • Income per capita: $14,132.
  • Below poverty line: 7.0% of the families and 8.3% of the population including 8.3 % of people under the age of 18 years and 22.0% of the people aged 65 years or older.

Culture of the City

Bertram Texas Blue Bonnets

Bertram Texas Blue Bonnets

During the Labor Day Weekend the annual “Oatmeal festival” is hosted in Bertram. The festival attracts people from all over Central Texas.

Oatmeal festival started in 1978 as a parody of the various chili-festivals in Texas. Ken Odiorne, a resident of nearby Oatmeal community organized the first festival. National Oats of 3 Minutes Oats fame sponsored the first festival.

The money from the Festival has led to the creation of an open-air pavilion in Bertram and a community center at Oatmeal. Local high school graduates receive various scholarships every year and many local events like Easter Egg Hunt, Santa Workshop and Burnet Livestock Show are also sponsored by the money raised from the Oatmeal festival.


Students in the area attend schools in the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District. Bertram Elementary school was named National Blue Ribbon School in 2007.


The area has hot and humid summers and mild to cool winters. The Köppen Climate Classification system classifies the local climate as subtropical.

If you are interested in Real Estate in the Texas Hill Country, please feel free to contact Tom Ashworth (208)830-7991.

How to Pick a Home

How to pick a home

What, where and why are the main considerations when you are picking your first home.   I suggest that you decide where 1st.


When you are deciding where you want to live it can be tricky.  You want to live in a place that suits your lifestyle.

Do you have a commute to work?  If yes, then maybe you want to investigate traffic patterns.

Do you have kids?  Then maybe you want to look for school systems that offer the best education.

You get my point; basically you have to look at how you live and what is important to you to decide where you want to live.


I suggest you look at what your needs and wants are.  Your needs should rate higher than your wants.   Also, if you plan on moving into a larger house later or plans on moving you want to discuss resale possibilities with your Realtor.

When you are looking at the “What” aspect, you need to know what it is you want.  I suggest you make a list of everything that you would ever want and then rate them.  Put a star next to the things that you need.


When you are analyzing your potential home ask yourself why this home is better than that one.  I suggest that you narrow your home search down to two possibilities, and then ask your realtor to show them to you again.  This will help you clarify the differences in your mind and solidify the fact that you are getting the best home for you.

If you are thinking of buying your first home then I suggest you make up a home comparison chart.   I suggest you use one similar to this one.   The reason I suggest using a comparison chart is that you will look at many homes and sometimes it is hard to remember the details on each home.  This checklist will help you remember the home features and stay on track to buy the perfect house.

If you need help contact Tom Ashworth @ (208) 830-7991.

Standard Deductions or Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

The age old question: “Should I itemize or take the standard deduction on my income taxes.  Taking a look at these requires you to do your taxes both ways, but it can save you thousands of dollars.   People that earn over $75,000 a year usually itemize their deductions, but with lower interest rates on home mortgages; “is this wise?”Standard or Itemized

$11,900 is offered to married couples filing jointly and $5,950 is available for singles as a standard deduction.   Every person can expect this deduction, so you need to get more than this to consider itemizing.

A married couple filing jointly on their taxes that has a $150,000 mortgage with a 3.5% interest rate would have paid $9,250 in taxes and interest.  Therefore the standard deduction would give them $2,650 more than itemizing.    If that couple were in a 28% tax bracket, they would have earned $742 more using the standard deduction.

People used to count on this deduction a “No Brainer”, but then again interest rates were much higher, so the deduction was larger.  That is why you should analyze whether would be best in your situation.    There are so many things to consider that you should consult a tax specialist.  If you can save $700 then why not pay a tax specialist $200 for advice.

You have to add all your itemized deductions to make sure that it is actually beneficial.   For instance you would add home office, medical, charitable contributions, losses and other things together to make up your itemized deduction.  If that is more than $11,900 for a married couple or more than $5,950 for a single person, then you should probably itemize.