Uvalde: The Texas Hill Country City That Grew Out of Its Wild Oats

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A legendary “wild west” town in the Texas Hill Country, if there ever was one, is the town of Uvalde. Situated in the southwest corner of the region, the town was previously known for its outlaws in its early years, but turned itself around to become an upstanding, well-established locale, producing much more positive role models beginning in the 20th century. The area’s recorded history commenced around 1718, and the establishment of San Antonio. This marked the beginning of traders, prospectors, hunters, and Spanish soldiers frequently crossing through the region.

Uvalde: The Texas Hill Country City That Grew Out Of Its Wild Oats

Photo: Wikimedia

After a failed attempt at establishing a mission in the area, and a strategic defeat of an army of Apaches northeast of where present-day Uvalde now sits, it would be approximately another 50 years before the famous scout, Jose Pollicarpo “Polly” Rodriguez” would mark a trail through the area to El Paso, and Fort Inge would be built just one mile south of what would be modern-day Uvalde’s city center. Roughly four years later, a young man by the name of Reading W. Black purchased 4,650 acres and constructed his home approximately one mile north of the fort, and in 1855, to lay out what he foresaw as a city called Encina, he hired a surveyor from San Antonio, and plotted out his piece of this “wild west”. The surveyor did as he was asked, and surveyed four plazas together with streets as wide as 100 feet at what would be the city center. Following that, a few more settlers arrived, and eventually, a store, a gristmill, and a blacksmith shop were established. One year later, a new county was formed, and the town of Encina changed its name to Uvalde (a variation on “Ugalde,” in reference to Governor Juan de Ugalde, who led the defeat of the Apaches more than 50 years prior). It became the county seat, and a post office was established in 1857.

Uvalde: The Texas Hill Country City That Grew Out Of Its Wild Oats
Photo: Wikipedia

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