This town, one of Texas' oldest settlements, was first called Mina. The name was changed around 1837 to honor Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, a prominent Dutch nobleman—or so the colonists thought. Actually, he was a flamboyant impostor named Philip Hendrik Nering Bogel, born in Dutch Guiana to ordinary Dutch parents. Appearing in Texas as Baron de Bastrop in 1805, he obtained a colony grant, established a freighting business and was appointed second alcalde of San Antonio in 1810. He was a primary negotiator with the government of Mexico for Stephen F. Austin's original Anglo-American colony, became an elected representative to the Mexican state of Coahuila (which included Texas) and was instrumental in establishing the port of Galveston. However, the counterfeit baron's enterprises resulted in little profit, and when he died in 1827 fellow legislators covered the cost of his burial. It wasn't until more than a century after his death that records in the Netherlands revealed his identity.
More than 130 historic structures in Bastrop are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with 31 displaying a Texas Medallion marker. Main Street is lined with century-old structures housing shops and restaurants. Bed-and-breakfast accommodations in historic buildings are available.
Main Street and Fisherman's Park on the Colorado River offer picnicking, fishing and boating. The historic Iron Bridge has been converted to a park above the Colorado River. Bastrop has three 18-hole golf courses. Horseback riding also is available.