History

Hondo: ‘This Is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell’

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Situated in an area that was “discovered” in 1689 when Spanish explorer Alonso De Leon passed through, Hondo takes its name from Hondo Creek, after the Spaniard named the Medina River and the Seco (meaning “dry”) and Hondo (meaning “deep”) Creeks en route to East Texas. And although history tells it that hundreds of people passed through the Hondo area in expeditions through the Hill Country, circumventing Comanche and Apache bastions, it was ultimately the construction of the railroad in 1881 that truly brought “Hondo City” about.

Hondo: ‘This is God’s Country. Don’t Drive Through it Like Hell…Please’

Photo: Wikimedia

After reaching what they deemed a promising location 41 miles west of San Antonio, the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad determined to plot a town and began the process of selling lots. Shortly thereafter, a post office was established, and in 1884 there were 25 residents, but the floodgates for settlement finally opened in 1891, and Hondo’s growth rocketed. With just 200 people in 1892, voters of Medina County selected Hondo as the new county seat, and a courthouse and county jail were completed by 1893. By 1895, the town name was shortened to Hondo though its extremities were still expanding, becoming the major economic center for much of Medina County. Hondo’s downtown business district grew to accommodate the commerce and became occupied by a number of two-story buildings, and by 1915, its population grew to 2,500.

Hondo: ‘This is God’s Country. Don’t Drive Through it Like Hell…Please’

Photo: Wikimedia

In 1913, a dam was constructed across the Medina River, forming a lake north of Hondo, and with the increased use of automobiles, construction of Highway 3 began, coming from Del Rio to San Antonio and on to Houston. Completion of the highway finally happened in 1922, bringing with it the continued opportunity for growth and prosperity. Ironically, in 1930, the Hondo Lions Club erected a sign near its city limits which said, “This Is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell,” later adding the word “please” out of respect for those who thought it impolite, and the sign became a renowned Hondo landmark.

Hondo: ‘This is God’s Country. Don’t Drive Through it Like Hell…Please’
Photo: Wikimedia

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