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SAN ANGELO, TEXAS

Tom Green County Seat, West Texas / Texas Panhandle

State Highways 126, 208
US Highways 67, 87, 277
220 miles from San Antonio
86 miles SE of Big Spring
43 miles SE of Sterling City
Population: 94,275 (2010) 88,439 (2000)

Book Hotel Here > San Angelo Hotels

San Angelo Tx - Ft Concho Headquarter
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson
Fort Concho
National Historic Landmark

History in a Pecan Shell

San Angelo had originally been named after the wife (or some say the sister-in-law) of Bartholomew DeWitt. Mr. DeWitt had bought the 360 acres opposite Fort Concho for $1.00 per acre. The town had been spelled San Angela but that spelling was rejected by the postal authorities for its "ungrammatical construction". They would accept either Santa Angela or San Angelo and so the city fathers chose the easier-to-pronounce San Angelo.

San Angelo grew as a direct result of its proximity to Fort Concho. The town was a pretty rowdy place, and so was the fort. But Fort Concho's post hospital (built in the 1870s) served as the city hospital until St. John's Hospital and Health Center was constructed in 1910.

Five miles away from the fort - a rival town was prospering and indeed, it became the county seat. But the town, later to be named Ben Ficklin was washed away in an 1882 flood. Ben Ficklin's colorful story is worth reading.

After the courthouse at Ben Ficklin was swept away, San Angelo became the logical choice for the county seat. Shortly after the flood, Oscar Ruffini showed up and asked if anyone needed a courthouse. They did.

Ruffini had been sent west for his health and ended up outliving his "healthy" brother by decades. He stayed in San Angelo and made it his home, dying in the late 1950s. He is said to have contributed more than 40 buildings to the city - some of which are still standing. Between Oscar and brother F. E. - the Ruffini Brothers dotted the Texas landscape with courthouses, jails and durable structures from McKinney (The Collin County Prison) to the Concho County courthouse in Paint Rock.

San Angelo has always had a diverse economy. It developed a sheep raising industry in the 1870s and the railroad came through in 1888. Oil discoveries helped and in 1940 Goodfellow Air Field was developed, which later became Goodfellow Air Force Base.

SAN ANGELO LANDMARKS / ATTRACTIONS:

San Angelo TX - Tom Green County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson
Tom Green County Courthouse

More San Angelo Attractions:

  • Fort Concho
    The best preserved of the chain of forts across Texas. Twenty-three buildings on 40 acres make up this National Historic Landmark.
  • Tom Green County Courthouse
  • The Orient-Santa Fe Depot: 703 S. Chadbourne Street - Museum featuring West Texas Railroading.
  • Concho Avenue: Many fine examples of San Angelo's early architecture, beautifully restored.
  • San Angelo State Park: Camping, boating and fishing on 7,000 acres on O. C. Fisher Reservoir.
    3900 - 2 Mercedes San Angelo TX 76901
    325-949-4757
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us
  • Running of the Sheep by Audrey A. Herbrich
    On the last Saturday in September, local West Texan’s showcase their idea of “fun” by releasing a herd of sheep in the downtown streets.
  • San Angelo’s (Semi-) Old Five-and-Dime by Audrey A. Herbrich
  • Beauregard Avenue Bridge, San Angelo, Texas
    Beauregard Avenue Bridge in San Angelo
    Postcard courtesy The William Beauchamp Collection

    San Angelo Chronicles
  • News from interesting to stale to interesting again by Mike Cox
    Consider some of the goings on in West Texas in December 1884 and January 1885 as reported by the newly founded San Angelo Standard... more
  • Born in a Wagon Yard, the Buck Started There by Mike Cox
    Frank Buck
  • Dead Ellis by Mike Cox (From "Texas Tales" Column)
    Docents guiding tours of Fort Concho's reconstructed hospital still tell the story of “Dead” Ellis.
  • Militia whipped by Kickapoo Indians near San Angelo History Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
  • "Mohair Capitol of the World" History Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
  • San Angelo History Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
  • Cowgirls History Cartoon by Roger T. Moore

  • Cactus Hotel in San Angelo, Texas
    Cactus Hotel Lobby
    Photo courtesy Lou Ann Herda, 2001
    San Angelo view
    San Angelo from the 15th floor of the Cactus Hotel
    Photo courtesy Lou Ann Herda
    Cactus Hotel, San Angelo, Texas
    The Cactus Hotel
    TE postcard archive

    San Angelo, Texas Forum
  • I recently purchased a travel book on Texas here in Germany, in which they focused on about five cities in Texas and San Angelo was one of them. They pointed out that San Angelo, in their opinion, is the real Texas, with genuine friendly people, etc. I am very proud of my home!! Take care and best greetings from Hamburg, Germany - Glenn Du Pree, December 2001

  • San Angelo, Texas Area Destinations:
    See Tom Green County | West Texas | Texas Panhandle
    Big Spring | Sterling City
    Book Hotel Here:
    San Angelo Hotels | More Hotels

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.



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