At the southern end of Austin County, Wallis got its start in 1880 as a railroad town. William Guyler donated land to entice the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe railroads to come here from Galveston. A depot was established and named for railroad director and engineer Joseph Edmond Wallis. By 1890, Czech settlers arrived from Fayette County and settled near the current city location. Wallis Methodist Church and Wallis City Cemetery have Texas State Historical Markers. The city also features antique, gift and collectible shops and bed-and-breakfasts.