In 1854, Frederick Law Olmstead, famed landscape architect of New York City's Central Park, passed through Seguin while traveling in Texas. He was surprised to find that a number of buildings were made of concrete. His surprise was justified because the use of concrete in common wall construction was less than 2 decades old. The city stands on a thick foundation of coarse gravels that was ideal for the concrete construction methods practiced in only a few places in the country at the time.
About the time of Olmstead's visit to Seguin in 1854, Colonel Joshua W. Young began construction of a large home for his family. His building material was concrete, known locally as limecrete. Young completed the house in 1856. In 1976 the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department acquired the house, now known as Sebastopol State Historic Site. Preserved and restored for its architectural significance, Sebastopol at first glance could be constructed of almost any material. The same is true for most of the 20 or so limecrete buildings remaining in Seguin. By the end of the 19th century as many as 90 limecrete buildings and countless fences, cisterns, and other functional structures are known to have been built in the city, prompting a contemporary journalist to label Seguin "the Mother of Concrete Cities."