Named for Washington Irving's character Diedrich Knickerbocker by early settlers related to Irving, the community quickly became significant, being the most important community in the county aside from San Angelo. Agriculture was long the community's mainstay, between grain farming and sheep ranching. The first settlers in the area arrived in 1875, and the first townsite was established along Dove Creek; Knickerbocker's post office was established in 1881 and rebuilt in 1896 and 1936. The community was moved in 1889 around a nearby hill in order to have better access to water.
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