Goldthwaite (established 1885) is a small city located in Mills County in Central Texas. The population was 1,802 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mills County, which is named for John T. Mills, a justice of the Supreme Court for the Third, Seventh, and Eighth districts of the former Republic of Texas. Goldthwaite is located in the western portion of the Texas Hill Country. The elevation is 1,580 feet. Goldthwaite is situated at the intersections of U.S. Highways 84 and 183, Texas State Highway 16, and Texas Farm-to-Market Roads 572 and 574.
Goldthwaite was originally a part of the southern portion of Brown County. Like many other Texas communities, Goldthwaite was named for a railroad official, Joe C. Goldthwaite of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, who conducted the auction of town lots. The post office opened in 1886. After Mills County was organized, several landowners donated property with the assurance that Goldthwaite would become the county seat. The first county jail was built in 1888, and the courthouse was completed in 1890.
The Santa Fe Railroad constructed shops and a roundhouse switch. Goldthwaite was scheduled to have become a division point until labor problems compelled the railroad to relocate the shops to Brownwood, the seat of Brown County, to the north. Even without the railroad, Goldthwaite progressed. By 1898, it had a population of 1,200, three churches, a bank, a number of hotels and boardinghouses, two cotton gins, two gristmills, both public and private schools businesses, and two competing weekly newspapers, the Goldthwaite Eagle and the Goldthwaite Mountaineer. A meeting in 1905 of the Confederate Reunion, a major annual social event, remains the largest public gathering in the history of Mills County. There is a large Confederate monument on the front lawn of the courthouse in Goldthwaite.