Bellville is the seat of Austin County, one of the original counties in Texas. In 1848, Bellville was established as the seat of government on land given to the county by Thomas Bell, one of Stephen F. Austin's original Three Hundred Colonists, and for whom the city was named. The first issue of The Bellville Times was published in 1879 and is still in business today.
The subtropical climate is excellent for hay, sorghum, corn, rice, and oats. Cattle farms are abundant. In spring, fields come alive with bluebonnets and other wild flowers. A guide to many fine turn-of-the-century homes and downtown buildings, produced by the Bellville Historical Society, can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce.
Four city parks offer excellent picnic areas and playgrounds. Shoppers find an abundance of antique and craft shops offering handmade items in historic buildings around the square. Bed and breakfast accommodations are offered in some of the historic buildings.