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This predominantly German/Czech community, founded in 1838, was named for Margaret Hallett, who gave the land for the town site. The city has been the seat of Lavaca County since 1852. It is on the Lavaca River, equidistant from Houston and San Antonio. Ripley's Believe it or Not! once called Hallettsville the "13" city: in 1913 it had 13 letters in the name, 1,300 population, 13 churches, 13 newspapers and 13 saloons.
The State Championship High School Rodeo was established here in 1947. Events include the State Championship Domino and Domino "42" Tournaments, State Championship Fiddler's Frolics and the annual Kolache Fest.