Marble Falls is a city in Burnet County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 6,077. It is about 48 miles (77 km) northwest of downtown Austin and 85 miles (137 km) north of San Antonio. Lake Marble Falls is part of the Highland Lakes on the Colorado River, the largest chain of lakes in Texas. It hosts one of the largest drag boat races in the United States each August. Marble Falls made history in 1917 by electing Ophelia Crosby “Birdie” Harwood as the nation’s first woman mayor, three years before women were allowed to vote.
When the Max Starcke Dam was completed in 1951, the marble falls which had given the town its name were submerged under the new Lake Marble Falls. While the town’s economy struggled through the drought of the 1950s, a new economy based on tourism and retirement began to grow in the 1970s. During the last thirty years, Marble Falls has grown into the retail and entertainment center for the Highland Lakes area, and continues to attract tourists, retirees and new businesses.
Marble Falls is located in southern Burnet County on the banks of Lake Marble Falls. According to the Handbook of Texas website, the former falls were flooded by the lake, which was created by a shelf of limestone running diagonally across the Colorado River from northeast to southwest. The upper layer of limestone, brownish on the exterior but a deep blue inside, was so hard and cherty it was mistaken for marble. The natural lake and waterfall were covered when the Colorado River was dammed with the completion of Max Starcke Dam in 1951. Lake Marble Falls sits between Lake Lyndon B. Johnson to the north and Lake Travis to the south. The falls for which the city is named are now underwater but are revealed every few years when the lake is lowered. Equally noteworthy is the huge igneous batholith called Granite Mountain looming on the town’s western edge that secured Marble Falls’ place in Texas history.