About This Place
Copperas Cove is a city located in central Texas at the southern corner of Coryell County with city limits extending into neighboring Bell and Lampasas counties. Founded in 1879 as a small ranching and farming community, today the city is the largest in Coryell County with more than 30,000 residents. The town's economy is closely linked to nearby Fort Hood, making it part of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area. Residents often refer to the city simply as "Cove."
The first evidence of human habitation in the Five Hills area dates back to at least 4,000 B.C. Artifacts such as skeletal remains, arrowheads, and other stone tools have been found along local creek beds and valley floors. These first residents were nomadic hunters, traveling in small groups following migrating buffalo herds. When the Spanish came to Texas, a small Plains tribe known as the Tonkawa inhabited the area. The powerful and aggressive Comanche controlled a vast stretch of land to the north and west, making Coryell County a hostile battleground as settlers moved into the area.
In 1825, Mexico provided Stephen F. Austin with a land grant encompassing a large area including present-day Copperas Cove. Starting in the 1830s, the first white settlers came into the Five Hills region, however, the area lacked stability until after the Civil War. Substantial settlement did not arrive until the development of the cattle industry during the 1870s, when a feeder route of the Chisholm Trail was cut through the region. Settlement centered around a local general store about two miles southwest of present-day downtown. In 1878 residents applied for a post office under the name "Cove", so chosen for the site's sheltered location. However "Cove" was already taken by a nearby community (now called Evant). Originally named by the farmers in the area "Copras Cove" for the copra of the coconut (i.e. the dried meat of the coconut seed), the additional "pe" was added in 1902, inspired by the mineral taste of nearby sulfer spring water. The post office was established in March 1879 with Marsden Ogletree as the town's first postmaster. The original building remains today and is the site of the Ogletree Gap Heritage Festival.