Bend is located between San Saba and Lampasas, on Ranch Road 580 at a horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River. The community is home to the Colorado Bend State Park.
The area was originally settled in 1854 by three brothers from Tennessee - David Donald, James Milton, and William Low. Known by many different names, the Bend post office opened in 1879 in the home of Seth Martin Moore, the local ferry operator, and has operated continuously since.
The town developed in the 1870s and 1880s, as a gristmill, cotton gin, and general store were established to meet the needs of local farmers and cattlemen. In the late nineteenth century the pecan industry also became commercially important.
Extensive pecan orchards were planted after 1920, and by midcentury the Hollis native pecan had become the region's primary cash crop. Bend boosters consider the Jumbo Hollis, which stands near the banks of the Colorado River, to be the world's most productive pecan tree. It is claimed that the tree yields nuts of extraordinary size and that in 1919 it produced more than 1,000 pounds. The tree is named for its first known owner, Thomas I. Hollis.