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San Angelo, Texas History

The History of San Angelo, Texas

San Angelo, county seat of Tom Green County, is located in the heart of West Texas at the juncture of the Middle and North Concho Rivers. The city had its beginning in 1867 when Bart DeWitt established a trading post "over the river" from Fort Concho, a frontier military post that had been established earlier the same year. DeWitt named the settlement "Santa Angela" in honor of his wife's sister, a Mexican nun. Later the name was changed to San Angelo. Prospects for the future of San Angelo were not bright in 1 875 when a nearby stage depot, Ben Ficklin, won a heated election for the right to become the county seat. However, a flash flood devastated the rival settlement seven years later, leaving San Angelo the undisputed "Queen of the Conchos." After Fort Concho was deactivated in May 1889, San Angelo developed rapidly into a business town for cattle and sheep raisers. Today the city has a population of approximately 100,000.

Although its early growth resulted from its role as a mecca for ranchmen, tlie city slowly expanded economically and culturally until it emerged as a major center of activity for a vast area of West Texas. In addition to accommodating livestock, farming, and oil interests, San Angelo now attracts fishing and boating enthusiasts to its three lakes, a merchandise-minded and style-conscious clientele to its numerous downtown and urban shopping districts, and culturally oriented and artistically inclined patrons to its San Angelo Symphony, art galleries, and Fiesta del Concho. One of the most widely supported of its numerous community projects is the annual rodeo, which features nationally known riders and ropers. The Fort Concho Museum contributes to the preservation of the city's early heritage. San Angelo is also the home of Goodfellow Air Force Base, a significant security installation.

Although its institutions have become increasingly complex and more sophisticated, San Angelo continues to retain an informal atmosphere. The city boasts an excellent public school system, supports churches of many denominations, and takes pride in the fact that it is rapidly becoming an important medical and retirement center. San Angelo is a wonderful city in which to live and to attend college.

Angelo State University is part of the Texas State University System and enrolls students from a wide geographical area of Texas, 47 other states, and 19 other countries. The University was listed as one of the top ten "Up and Coming" regional universities in American higher education in U.S. News and World Report's 1991 College Guide, America's Best Colleges. This same publication in its 1993 College Guide lists Angelo State University as one of the three highest ranked state-supported regional universities in Texas.

The University has one of the most modem and attractive campuses in the nation and has an enrollment of approximately 6,103 students. The University also offers one of the largest and most distinctive academic scholarship programs in the nation.