"bowling" league in Ottine c. 1890s. |
on photo for large image
Photo Courtesy of Gonzales County Records Center
in a Pecan Shell
The town's name was cobbled together when
Adolf Otto and his wife Christine decided that the previous name of Otto's
Mill could stand improvement. It was also known for a brief time as Otto's
Station when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway made it a stop on their
The Ottos had naming rights since it was Adolph who had built
a water gin in 1879. The mill ran on water provided by the sulfur springs in the
swamp next to the town. Ottine prospered enough to warrant a general store and
post office by 1892. The business was opened by the sons of Christine and Adoph.
By 1897 Ottine had two general stores as well as most essential businesses
and a gristmill (courtesy of the San Marcos River).
As difficult as it
is to imagine today, local farmers produced 7,000 bales of cotton in the single
year of 1899. In 1915 the population was estimated at 200 but ten years later
it had declined to a mere 100.
198 acres of the Ottine Swamp was bought
by the state in 1933 and it was renamed as Palmetto
State Park. Four years later the Warm Springs Foundation for Crippled Children
(Texas Rehabilitation Center of Gonzales
) set up a facility at the site. As a result, Ottine's population doubled to an
estimated 200 by the end of WWII.
The population returned to the 100-person range in the mid 1960s and it decreased
to 90 in 1990, rebounding to the present estimate of 106.
Post Office >
Texas Forum >
Post Office as Postcard.
|The post office which
was considered by many (or at least the photographer who made a post card of it)
to be one of the more picturesque post
offices in Texas has been replaced by a modern modular post office. |
postmaster Shirley C. related the story (in 2000) of how the building had once
been photographed without the permission of the postmaster. After returning from
a vacation, the postmaster fired off a letter to the printing company suggesting
possible litigation. A short time later several boxes of postcards were delivered
to the post office and the matter was never mentioned again.
post office as it appeared in 1999.|
post office front door - in the shade of Chinaberry trees|
post office interior in 1999.|
Ottine and Palmetto State Park
I just happened across your
website and I have been reading info from places I have been, I have enjoyed
I wanted to let you know that Ottine had two rehabilitation
facilities up until the 1980's. The Warm Springs Foundation Hospital and The Texas
Elks Hospital for crippled (I hate that word) children. Warm Springs was funded
mainly by the March of Dimes while the Elks Club of Texas funded the other. Most
of the kids at the Elks Hospital were from lower socioeconomic backgrounds of
which I was one. After contracting polio in 1952 I was lucky enough to wind up
at the Elks Hospital for treatment. As I was reading "History in a Pecan Shell"
it aroused many memories of my life there. One of my favorite memories is the
canopy of trees on Park Road 11, the mustang grapes growing wild along the roadside
were the best things I have ever eaten. I have enjoyed traveling all over Texas
but I always feel I am home when I go back and drive around Ottine and Palmetto
Billings, December 19, 2011
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic,
endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local
history and vintage/historic photos of their town/subject, please