Photo courtesy Mr. & Mrs. Sayles
a Pecan Shell
Iatan began life
as a stop on the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1881. It was also known
as Vista, Texas and the unusual name is thought to have come
from the Williams-Waddell Iatan Tank Ranch.
A post office opened in early 1890 and served the residents until
the mid 1920s when it moved to nearby Westbrook.
Iatan’s school merged with the Westbrook
schools in 1938 when there was an approximate population of 125. It
dropped to a mere 20 for the 1950 Census and remained at that level
By the 1970s only a depot remained – and today only the cemetery.
|Iatan was suggested
for inclusion by Mr. & Mrs. Sayles who wrote:
We would like to add the small town of Iatan (pronounced like "I
can" only "I tan") which was located between Colorado
City and Big
Spring. Iatan became a Ghost Town in the 1960s. Empty stores and
empty houses lined the dirt road of town. The buildings are now gone;
but for those of us whose ancestors lived and died there; we hope
it will not be forgotten.
Today, only a cemetery remains. To reach the Iatan Cemetery, which was
about a mile before reaching the old town; travel west from Colorado
City on I-20 and take the Iatan Exit (which used to lead you
to the old town). Go north about 1 to 1-1/2 miles. The cemetery is
on the right. - Mr. & Mrs. Sayles, January 17, 2008
Just a tidbit for the historically minded.
On the west side of Big
Spring on old maps there is a site where the railroad was built
across almost a quick-sand low-lying landscape. The name it was given
was Infierno, Spanish for Hell.
On the railroad east of Big
Spring in Mitchell County you can still find the old cemetery
of the town called Iatan (I have an infant cousin buried there) and
have heard that the name derived from Satan. Which makes sense because
the place where the railroad was laid down was also a bog, at times
a lake. The legend is that the letter S resembled a fancy letter I
in script and some map maker thought surely no one would name a place
Satan and so he made it Iatan.
Here's the twist: I have just come across a reference to one of the
names for the Comanche tribe as Iatan and you well-know that this
was Comanche territory. Couple this name with the hatred the Army,
Texas Rangers and Texans in general had for the Comanche and Iatan
might have been somebody's joke--to make the Comanche into the Satanic.
- dp, October 23, 2014
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact