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 Texas : Towns A-Z / South Texas / Ghost Towns :

LAGARTO, TEXAS

Live Oak County, South Texas
Farm Roads 534 and 3162
18 miles SE of George West
18 miles W of Mathis

Population: Est. 80 (1990) 735 ( 2000)

Lagarto Area Hotels
George West Hotels | Mathis Hotels

Lagarto TX Community Center
Lagarto Community Center
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009

A Visit to Lagarto, Texas

Photographer's Note:
Traveling down 534 you can find the old School & Cemetery (off the road-no signs). But to see where the town realy is today you need to go east on FM-3162 about 2 miles to where it dead ends at Lake Corpus Christi. There you can find a store, community center and fire station. There are many homes in the hills by the lake here. A massive brush fire earlier this year destroyed many residences and made big news. Many people were displaced and fundraisers are trying to get this group back on it's feet. - William Beauchamp, August 11, 2009

Lagarto History
Lagarto Cemetery & Historical Marker

Lagarto, Texas History in a Pecan Shell

Once called Roughtown, the name was changed after residents formed a vigilance committee, closed saloons and prohibited the selling of liquor within a two-mile radius of the town. The current name is said to be Spanish for "alligator" and it is presumed that the area was once rife with the reptiles. An earlier Mexican village was reported in the mid-1830s but as ranchers moved in, the population faded away.

A town was platted by John W. Ramey in the 1850s and by 1866 it was a thriving town with a population of 500. A post office was granted in 1874 with the slightly different spelling of Lagarta and Lagarto College opened in 1884. The population dropped to 350 by 1875 but the town had since added a newspaper, gristmill and hotel. In 1906 Lagarto had two schools with a combined enrollment of 29 students taught by 2 teachers.

The town was later (1888) bypassed by the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway and within two years Lagarto was in decline.

First the college closed and from a population of 200 in 1892 it shrank to just 75 by 1914. By 1936 Lagarto had 100 residents, two schools, a church, a business, and scattered dwellings. Local schools merged with schools in George West after WWII. In 1959 with the construction of Lake Corpus Christi, Lagarto was given a reprieve, although the population was estimated at only 80 residents from 1974 to 1990.

The 1925 school is still in use as a community center (look for the signs on the W side of FM 534).
Lagarto Texas former school
Lagarto former school
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006
See Texas Schoolhouses | Texas Towns
Largarto Texas school drinking fountain
The drinking fountain of the old school
TE Photo, February 2006
Lagarto College Historical Marker Text
Site of Live Oak County's only college. Opened 1884, with 4 teachers. Promoted locally to further town's growth (population 500). Once-prosperous Lagarto failed after 2 railroad bypasses. School closed, 1895. Two story building was moved and used as a ranch house.
Largarto College historical marker,  Lagarto, Texas
Lagarto College historical marker
TE Photo, February 2006
See Texas Schoolhouses | Texas Towns
Lagarto Cemetery
Lagarto TX Cemetery First Man Buried Grave
Grave of first man buried in Lagarto Cemetery
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
 Lagarto TX -   Lagarto Cemetery Historical Marker
Lagarto Cemetery Historical Marker
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto Cemetery Historical Marker Text

In the early 1870's an unknown traveler died at the home of Samuel and Mary Beall, proprietors of a general store in the ranching town of Lagarto. The Bealls buried the man at a site on their property. In 1876, land surrounding the gravesite was formally set aside as the Lagarto Cemetery when Sam and Mary Beall sold two acres of their land to J.W. Ramey, Cornelius Clay Cox, and T.P. McNeill, trustees for the Lagarto Community Cemetery.

The grave of the unknown man is identified only by a caliche rock cover, as are two other burial sites in the cemetery. The oldest marked grave, that of two year old Isabel Harrison, is dated October 12, 1876. Others buried here include Charles H. Fusselman (1866-1890), who was shot in Presidio county while serving as a Texas ranger, and John Pollan (1808-1890), who fought in the Texas war for Independence.

Although the population of Lagarto declined after the railroad bypassed it in 1887, its citizens have continued to use the cemetery since the 1870's. Descendants of the town's pioneers still live in the area, which has become the site of development along Lake Corpus Christi.
Lagarto TX Cemetery Early Grave by a Mesquite Tree
Lagarto Cemetery scene
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX Cemetery Early Marker
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX Cemetery early tombstone
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX Cemetery Early Grave with Spanish Daggers
Spanish daggers on early grave
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX Cemetery Veteran's Headstone
Veteran's Headstone
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX Cemetery Cowboy's Headstone
Cowboy's Headstone
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX - Lagarto  Cemetery View
Lagarto Cemetery View. More Texas Cemeteries
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto TX - Volunteer Fire Department FireTruck
Fire Truck
Photo courtesy William Beauchamp, August 2009
Lagarto Texas old house
A former residence
TE Photo, February 2006
Lagarto is included in T. Lindsay Baker's Ghost Towns of Texas
See Texas Ghost Towns

Lagarto Area Destinations:
George West - George West Hotels
Mathis - Mathis Hotels
Dinero

More Destinations:
South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast | Texas Towns | Texas | Hotels
Lagarto Texas Forum
  • Lagarto Not a Ghost
    I would suggest you visit Lagarto, Texas before telling the world that it is a ghost town. I live within two miles of the Lagarto highway marker, and I'm not a ghost and neither are the estimated 700 residents of the area. In a way, I'm glad you call it a ghost town. That way, no one will bother us here. Certainly, and gladly, it is no longer an incorporated town and no longer has its own post office, thank goodness! Thank goodness folks like you have no idea what's here!! - Penny Peavy, Lagarto, Texas, December 08, 2006
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