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Dimmit County TX
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Texas Ghost Town
Dimmit County, South Texas

28°20'51"N 99°36'53"W (28.347567, -99.614690)

Hwy 83
10 miles SE of Asherton
SE of Carrizo Springs, Dimmit County seat
21 miles W of Artesia Wells
Population: 118 (2010) 135 ( 2000) 45 (1990)

Catarina, Texas Area Hotels › Carrizo Springs Hotels

Catarina TX - Original  Post Office
The original Post Office in Catarina
Photo courtesy Robert Vahle, June 2011
More Texas Post Offices

History in a Pecan Shell

The name has been associated with the area since at least 1778; legend holds that it is the name of a Mexican woman killed by Indians on or near the site. The town was established after Asher Richardson, a rancher, decided to build a railway link from Artesia Wells to his planned town of Asherton.

In return for an easement through the nearby Taft-Catarina Ranch Richardson agreed to allow the ranch to establish a railroad depot, with cattle-shipping pens, on his railroad. By 1910, when the Asherton and Gulf Railway began operations, these cattle pens had become the nucleus of a small community built by Joseph F. Green, the manager of the ranch. Green moved the ranch headquarters to the depot and added a bunkhouse, a commissary, a hotel, a post office, and a small schoolhouse.

By 1915 the little town had twenty-five residents and had become famous in the area for the Taft House, an expensive mansion that Charles Taft, the owner of the ranch, supposedly built with oversized bathtubs to accommodate his brother, President William Howard Taft.

Catarina Farms, a development project, built roads, sidewalks, a waterworks, an impressive new hotel and installed electric power and a telephone exchange. Agent Charles Ladd imported entire orchards of fruit-laden citrus trees to impress prospective investors with the area's agricultural possibilities.

By 1929 Catarina had between 1,000 and 2,500 residents, a bank, at least two groceries, a lumber company, and a bakery. Short supplies of water, marketing problems, and the Great Depression damaged the town. By 1931 the population had dropped to 592, and many of its businesses had been forced to close. In 1943 Catarina had 403 residents and seven businesses; in 1956 it had 380 residents and three businesses. By 1969 some of the town's most picturesque old buildings had been abandoned, and the population was 160. In 1990 the population was forty-five.

Catarina TX School
Catarina School Today
Photo courtesy Robert Vahle, June 2011

Catarina Today

(From Catarina by Mike Cox )

In 1997, new owners reopened the long-boarded structure for the first time since the early days of the Cold War. It has had two owners since then, but the property has been renovated and does a steady business during the South Texas dove, quail, deer and turkey seasons.

Just across the highway, to give hunters a place to pick up a gift for the wives they left behind, a combination antique and gift store has been in business for several years.

A few blocks past the antique store, partially hidden by mesquite, is the old Catarina School. The building has fallen to ruin, but its poured concrete structure assures that the skeleton will survive for years to come.

Farther down the highway, the town’s once lavish swimming pool — part of the Catarina Farms development — is debris-filled. The country club building adjacent to it is long gone.

The Catarina cemetery, located at the end of a winding unpaved road a couple of miles from town, is overgrown with mesquite, though some burials occurred there in the 1980s and 1990s. But the location of the final resting place of the woman who gave the area her name is as uncertain as the existence of the ghosts who supposedly haunt the old hotel. Read full article

Catarina TX School interior
Catarina School in a sad state of deterioration
Photo courtesy Robert Vahle, June 2011

Catarina TX School Gym
Catarina School Gym
Photo courtesy Robert Vahle, June 2011
More Texas Schoolhouses

Catarina TX -  Catarina  Hotel Courtyard
Photo courtesy Robert Vahle, June 2011
Catarina Hotel Ghost

Catarina, Texas Old Photos

Catarina, Texas old photo - street scene
Catarina street scene, 1927
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com

Catarina  Texas - Catarina Winter Garden Farms 1929 old photo
A Tour for Prospective Landbuyers, Nov. 9, 1926
Click on image to enlarge
Photo Courtesy Jason Penney

Catarina TX - 1926 Catarina Winter Garden Farms Excursion
Closeup of above 1926 photo showing Catarina Winter Garden Farms Excursion
Courtesy Jason Penney

Catarina TX - 1926 Catarina Winter Garden Farms Excursion
Closeup of above 1926 photo - 2
Courtesy Jason Penney

Catarina TX - 1926 Catarina Winter Garden Farms Excursion
Closeup of above 1926 photo - 3
Courtesy Jason Penney

Catarina TX - 1926 Catarina Winter Garden Farms Excursion
Closeup of above 1926 photo - 4
Courtesy Jason Penney

Catarina TX - 1926 Catarina Winter Garden Farms Excursion
Closeup of above 1926 photo - 5
Courtesy Jason Penney
More Texas Vintage Photos

Catarina, Texas water tower
Catarina standpipe
Photo courtesy Jason Penney


Subject: Catarina Hotel
My parents ran the hotel and restaurant back in 1978 - 1979, so it had been open since the cold war.

The first and second story were open, the other floors were closed. We had many fireplaces. Our cook's name was Manuella. It was a magical place to live. - Thank you, Lana Jones, September 11, 2018

Dimmit County TX
Dimmit County 1940s map showing Catarina
E of Asherton, SE of Carrizo Springs
From Texas state map #4335

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip
South Texas
Texas Ghost Towns

Catarina, Texas Nearby Towns:
Carrizo Springs the county seat
Asherton | Artesia Wells | Uvalde | Eagle Pass
See Dimmit County

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