Bellville is the seat of Austin County, one of the original counties in Texas. In 1848, the town was established on land given to the county by Thomas Bell, one of Stephen F. Austin's original 300 colonists, for whom the city was named. In spring, area fields come alive with bluebonnets and other wildflowers. A guide to many fine turn-of-the-century homes and downtown buildings, produced by the Bellville Historical Society, is available at www.bellvillehistoricalsociety.com. Newman's Castle, featuring a moat and working drawbridge, offers day tours with lunch for groups by reservation: 979/865-9804. http://newmanscastle.com. Antique and craft shops can be found around the square. Bed-and-breakfast accommodations are available in historic buildings.