In 1879 Elgin was described as a "thriving depot town" of 400. By 1884 Elgin had five general stores, two druggists, three cotton gins, and a saloon.
In 1886 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad came through, adding to Elgin's business as a shipping point for cotton, wool, and livestock. By 1890 the community had a population of 1,100 and supported two hotels, a broom factory, two doctors, a dentist, and the Elgin Courier. This strong business heritage remains a part of Elgin's economy. Five of the City's oldest businesses, 4 of which are still in operation are:
Elgin Butler Brick - 1873
Southside Market & BBQ - 1882
Elgin Courier - 1890
Elgin Cotton Mill - 1906 - 2016
Meyer's Sausage Company & Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse - 1949
1. Elgin Butler Brick 1873
In 1866, Michael Butler arrived in New York with aspirations of discovering great opportunity in the United States. Like many Irish immigrants, he traveled west from New York to Wisconsin and Missouri seeking opportunity and acquiring different skills along the way. With time, Mr. Butler honed his craft as a brick mason as he continued to move westward— and eventually south—to Dallas, Texas.
Mr. Butler built his first brick manufacturing plant in 1870, then sold it to his brother Patrick only three years later. In 1873, Mr. Butler moved to Central Texas where he founded Butler Brick Works, one of the first great mercantile establishments in the area and the predecessor to Elgin-Butler Brick Company. After being passed through four generations of Butler family members, Elgin-Butler Brick Company remained family-owned until it was sold in December 2005.
Michael Butler built a successful brick business, but also established a heritage of civic involvement and accomplishment, which is still followed by Elgin Butler Company management today.
After being passed down with pride and care through many generations, Elgin Butler Company remains loyal to the principles on which it was founded. The Elgin Butler tradition of employee dedication continues. Their employees are experts in product knowledge and general industry information.
Elgin Butler Company - manufacturing and distributing quality architectural products since 1873, including Structural Glazed Brick and Tile, Architectural Trim Units, Ceramic Base Wall Units, Decorative Tile, Stone, and much more. Used in both load bearing or non-load bearing applications, Elgin Butler products combine the beauty of ceramic glaze with the structural solidity of masonry.
2. Southside Market & BBQ - 1882
Southside Market & BBQ has a long history of community involvement and deep roots in Elgin. As the story is told, a man by the name of William J. Moon owned some property on a small farm-to-market road in Elgin back in 1882. The Moon’s slaughtered beef and pork and sold it house to house from the back of a wagon. This practice lasted until 1886 when the Moons set up a location in town on Central Street. The first Southside Market was born at this location.
Records show that Lee Wilson took over the business in 1927. Wilson was in and out of business until the early 1940's. He sold Southside to Jerry Stach and Van Zimmerhanzel in 1944. The two men joined in various partnerships after purchasing the business, including a long-time partnership with Jerry's brother, Edwin. Eventually, Jerry bought out the other interests and ran the market for almost twenty-five years, selling it to Ernest and Rene Bracewell in 1968.
Since that time, Southside Market has been managed by three generations of the Bracewell family, and it still sells the original Elgin Hot Sausage, which is made today just as it was in 1882. They also carry an exceptional variety of meats and sides and their meat market is a great place for fresh cuts of choice meat. In addition, Southside offers wholesale distribution, nationwide shipping, deer processing and full service catering.
" We have been making our famous Elgin Hot Sausage for over 126 years right here at Southside Market and BBQ, Inc.® in Elgin, Texas. Part of what makes "Elgin Hot Guts," as the old timers call it, different from other sausages in the area is the seasoning and the quality of fresh ingredients. And, it comes in only one flavor - hot. Don't let that scare you, though, we lightened up on the pepper back in the 1970's so that everyone would be able to enjoy it. For those who still like the original, we took the extra pepper and put it into our authentic Elgin Hot Sauce."
Southside Market & Barbeque was recently chosen as the BEST in the category of “Best Lunch” by the Texas Travel Counselors during their six-day Study Tour of the Texas Hill Country Region. The Texas Travel Industry Association sponsored this 33rd annual tour which passed through 14 cities, eating at 15 of the best restaurants the Hill Country has to offer. In addition, Southside Market has been selected as one of the stops on the “Texas BBQ Trail”.
In addition to feeding the BBQ coinsurers in and outside of Elgin, Southside Market & BBQ is proud of its commitment to “Adding Value to the Community.” Among the many community related activities that its involved in, Southside Market & BBQ is the proud sponsor of the Annual Sausage Stampede in Elgin - benefitting the Cattlemen for Cancer Research Patient Assistance Fund and the Greater Elgin Chamber of Commerce. This fund assists patients and their families from Bastrop, Travis, Williamson, Lee and Hayes Counties who need financial assistance with lodging, meals and similar services while receiving cancer treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. The 7th Annual Sausage Stampede is set for October 10, 2009 and expects over 300 participants from all over Central Texas.
This past year Southside Market & BBQ added to new product lines – Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage and Pork & Garlic Sausage, but the basic formula for Southside’s success has remain the same at the pit – quality meat and exceptional seasoning.
Stop in and enjoy Texas-style barbeque in this restaurant. And be sure to visit the old-fashioned full-service meat market where experienced butchers gladly cut your favorite meats to your specifications or simply give you grilling tips. Southside Market & BBQ provides fresh quality cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and of course its world famous Elgin Hot Sausage. In addition to fresh meats, they also offer a variety of smoked meats including their own summer sausage (available in jalapeño and regular), pork sausage, dried sausage, and smoked Elgin Hot Sausage. And no stop is complete at Southside until you have yourself a hand-dipped cone of Blue Bell ice cream from the ice cream counter, where you will find a wide range of flavors – from Chocolate to Mango!
3. Elgin Courier 1890
The Elgin Courier has been reporting Elgin news since 1890. Miles Hill, Elgin's first lawyer founded the Elgin Courier. A year after its establishment, the Courier was purchased by S.T. Cain and moved upstairs over O'Connor's store where the paper was published for the following ten years. The paper was pasted on through various owners until in 1901 when J.O. Smith and his father, Dr. W.C. Smith purchased the paper. The son became sole owner shortly thereafter and continued building the paper over the next 46 years. Smith grew the Courier from a small operation into one of the most modern and well equipped plants found in any small Texas town. Many young men learned the printer's trade in Smith's plant. Some established papers of their own elsewhere. Others joined the dailies in some of Texas' larger cities.
4. Elgin Cotton Mill 1906
Elgin's cotton gins first started operating in July of 1878, when Silas Chatfield built the first gin and grist mill. Elgin Oil Mill was organized in 1906, with Charles Berg serving as manager. Later E.O. Lundgren, Sr. became owner-manager of the business. Though the operations are now permanently closed, the Cotton Mill is historically known for serving Elgin for quite some time
5. Meyer's Sausage Company & Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse - 1949
It all started way back in the late 1800s. That is when Henry Meyer hitched a ride from Germany to the United States, bringing his recipe for smoked sausage all the way to Texas. Then, around 1915, Henry taught his son, Rudolf Karl Georg (R.G.) Meyer, the secrets of his mouthwatering sausage. Soon, R.G. was the hit of his friends, making up big batches of sausage for them every chance he got. With some prodding from his fans, R.G. was persuaded to start marketing the tasty sausage, and founded Meyer’s Elgin Sausage Company in 1949. The famous sausage was made without any fancy preservatives, and was smoked in a little smokehouse right on the Meyer’s property. R.G. had great success selling his product locally, and figured he might as well sell it to Austin and other Central Texas communities. This started the wholesale end of the business, which is now the largest part of the Meyer’s sausage operation. In 1959, R.G.’s son, F.W. (Buddy) Meyer, took over his father’s company. Buddy continued to build the family business, and Meyer’s sausage became legendary throughout the state of Texas. Buddy stuck firmly to his family’s commitment to quality, and the company continued to grow. Finally in 1989 Gregg and Gary Meyer became the fourth generation of sausage makers to carry on the family tradition and opened and in 1998 they opened Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse BBQ restaurant, where not only is their famous sausage sold, but also brisket, pork ribs, pork steaks, turkey breast, and pepper lime chicken halves. Meyer's Smokehouse has been continuously voted Best BBQ in Elgin from 2004 – 2008 along with winning many other honors and awards. Meyer's also serves up some of the best steak and fajita catering in Texas.
Today, it’s still high quality meats, special blends of spices, natural casings and that hickory smoke flavor that make Meyer’s sausage so incredibly tempting. But most say the success of Meyer’s Sausage Company and Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse is based on one not-so-secret ingredient: 75 years of family pride and four generations of tradition. Right in the heart of ‘Cue-topia and directly adjacent to Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse Restaurant is its retail market. Meyer’s feature our famous Meyer’s Elgin Sausage in six hickory smoked flavors: original, garlic, sage, hot, tejano and jalapeño & cheese sausage, as well as its original and jalapeño summer sausage, beef or turkey jerky, all beef snack sticks, smoked pork tenderloin, smoked turkey breasts, garlic or sage seasoned bulk breakfast (pan) sausage seasoned with garlic or sage, and of course, Grandma Meyer’s BBQ Sauce, now in three flavors: original, hot and honey mesquite.
Meyer’s continues to bring new products to the market. Meyer’s latest smoked sausage, “Jalapeno and Cheese” went into production last summer and won third place in the Hot category at the People’s Choice BBQ contest in Long Island, New York in the summer of 2008 (Meyer’s also won first place in the standard category with its Garlic, and second in the specialty category with Tejano against sausage makers from California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, Louisiana and Texas). To add to its awards, People Choice BBQ named Meyer's “Grand Champion” of the 2008 contest. In addition, Meyer'st has been selected as one of the stops on the “Texas BBQ Trail”.
Meyer's products continue to be sold in grocery stores throughout the Central Texas area and can be shipped nationwide @ www.meyerselginsausage.com or by calling 1-800-MRS-OINK. Meyer’s just launched the third flavor in its BBQ sauces, Honey Mesquite, which began going on the grocery shelves on the first of March 2009, and its newest jerky, Sweet and Hot, started production last fall. All of Meyer’s delicious meats are made at its sausage plant in Elgin, Texas.
As of 2009, Meyer’s shipping its Smoked Pork ribs through its web site and has a new product for Meyer's Smokehouse "Dinosaur Ribs". And if that is not enough for you BBQ fans, Meyer’s has a new BBQ seasoning, another jerky flavor and another BBQ sauce that is currently in development. Cue-topia’s R&D elf was very busy last year, and this coming year appears destined for even more strides in the BBQ market as Meyer’s continues looking to the future, while maintain an eye on its barbeque roots.