by Peggy Sechrist, Soil for Water Advisor
Hershey Ranch located in Gillespie County in the Central Texas Hill Country has a fascinating history. It is composed of property from seven land grants and patents that date back to when Texas was a Colony of Spain. In 1857, the property known today as the Hershey Ranch was once owned by a Scottish cotton factory owner which is unique because Gillespie County was largely settled by Germans. Jake and Teresa Hershey purchased the property in 1976 for cattle ranching. Good land stewardship was always a priority for them. They donated a conservation easement to the Hill Country Land Trust to protect it from future development. It is now the largest piece of protected land in Gillespie County.