Settlement of the area began in the mid-1800s. In 1854, the community took the name Schleicher's Bend, after an early settler Gustav Schleicher. By 1856, it was called McAnelly's Bend after Robert Daugherty McAnelly, a landowner on the Lampasas side of the river.
When the application for a post office on the San Saba side of the river was made in the late 1870s, the names Little Breeches and Bend were submitted; the Bend Post Office opened in 1879 and has continuously operated ever since.
Bend had a population of approximately 400 in 1890. For most of the twentieth century, however, the community recorded 100 to 125 residents.
Bend boosters consider the Jumbo Hollis, a tree whose name is derived from its unusually large fruit and its first owner - Thomas I. Hollis, to be the world's most productive pecan tree. When other native pecan trees averaged 70 to 80 nuts per pound, Jumbo's averaged 33. At the 1904 World's Fair, Jumbo Hollis pecans won the bronze medal for being the largest displayed.
The tree's record year was 1919, when it produced 1,015 pounds of nuts.