by Samantha Retzlaff (Customer Service)
In 1854, the town of Round Rock, Texas was named in honor of the large, round shaped limestone rock found in the middle of the Brushy Creek where pioneers had settled a few years earlier. Soon after, the Chisholm Trail was created and cattle were guided right past the Round Rock on there way north from South Texas. You almost have to see the Round Rock in person to determine if it truly is round, but one thing’s for sure, it’s big, and it sits smack dab in the middle of the Brushy Creek in the heart of downtown Round Rock.
In 1986 when I was 10 years old, my parents moved the family from Austin, Texas to Round Rock, a then small but growing suburb just north of Austin. They had been searching for the opportunity to purchase and finally own their first home, and the suburbs of Round Rock afforded them that opportunity. They purchased a small three-bedroom house in the Brushy Creek subdivision and it became our home well into the early 2000’s until my parents were forced to sell due to poor health conditions.
One of my favorite memories of growing up in Round Rock was every time we drove past the Round Rock, my father would say, “Hey look kids, there’s the Round Rock,” acting like he was Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s European Vacation when Clark was stuck driving the roundabout multiple times saying, “Hey look kids, there’s Big Ben, and there’s Parliament…again.”
Another one of my favorite memories of growing up in Round Rock was the Legend of the Hairy Man, whose ghost was believed to live off of CR 174, also known as Hairy Man Road.
Legend has it, in the early 1800’s a caravan of stagecoaches were passing through and were forced to make camp just before the banks of the Brushy Creek due to high waters making the creek impassable. A young boy somehow became stranded from his family and wandered off down the creek and the settlers never saw him again. Another version of the legend states that the young boy fell out of his family stagecoach while traveling through and by the time his family noticed he was gone; they were too many miles away from Brushy Creek. Either way, the legend states that this young boy somehow managed to survive on his own, but soon became a hermit forced to live among the wooded areas along the Brushy Creek. Over time he grew to be very hairy, almost like a Sasquatch and avoided all people. He was known to frighten people and stagecoaches on purpose, as they passed through the Brushy Creek area. But one day, his tricks caught up with him and legend says he was trampled on by horses from a passing stagecoach.
Ever since his death, people have reported seeing a hairy man amongst the tall trees of the dark winding road. Reports have been made of strange thing happening to individuals or their vehicles while traveling down Hairy Man Road.
Growing up, we actually lived within walking distance from Hairy Man Road and I can’t even begin to count how many memories, both scary and fun, that were made on that road. I vividly remember the long winding one lane road with it’s tall trees that created a canopy of sorts, making the road pitch black at night allowing no moonlight to make it’s way through the leaf canopies. The road was wide enough for one car to pass at a time, forcing you to pull to the side of the road to give an oncoming car enough room to pass. At times, the bridge crossing Brushy Creek would flood and we would find the road closed to traffic at the bridge, unable to pass. So we had to turn around and take the long way to town.
When we first moved to the neighborhood, I remember hearing scary stories about the Hairy Man on Halloween and about how the high school kids were known to play pranks on people driving down Hairy Man Road a night. Pumpkins were hung and dropped in front of cars to scare them and kids would dress like the hairy man and jump out from the brush to scare passing cars.
I also remember being about 11 years old and in middle school when I spent the night with my best friend. Her dad dared us to ride in the back of his pickup truck while driving down Hairy Man Road. We held hands the entire way while lying in the bed of the pick up truck, looking up into the dark tree covered sky, praying together that the Hairy Man would not get us. Her dad made it halfway down the road and decided to kill the headlights and then the engine. He pretended that the truck wouldn’t start and swore he wasn’t pranking us. We started to scream and cry until he finally turned the lights and engine on and swore to us that it was all a joke. After that, we insisted that we ride in the cab of the truck. The entire way home, we rode in complete silence except for a sniffle or two from crying, still holding hands and scared to death.
Seeking a thrill as teenagers, we once rode in a car with a group of friends and the driver of the car thought it would be funny to turn the headlights off while driving down Hairy Man Road at a high rate of speed. Sure enough, riding without headlights proved to be dangerous and we hit something in the road. As the driver turned the headlights on and we got out of the car to check the damage, we found a dent in the front bumper of the car and it was covered in what appeared to be fur or some type of hair from an animal. We were all pretty sure we had hit a wild hog or something similar, but we couldn’t help but wonder if we had hit the hairy man because the “animal” was nowhere to be found.
To this day, people still talk about the legend of the Hairy Man, but Hairy Man Road has changed over time so much that it no longer holds the same “scare factor” as it used to. After high school, the County came in and widened the road making it a 2-lane road, clearing a lot of brush and trees from side of the road. The subdivisions have grown adding houses behind the tree-lined road and a hike and bike trail now runs along a portion of the road. A good portion of the winding road is now brightly lit with streetlights and the moonlight shines through the canopied tree covered sky. The low bridge crossing was raised to prevent flooding and now allows for two cars to pass through at once and the sharp curves in the road have now been softened with posted signs warning drivers of the sharp curves ahead.