Hondo, the county seat of Medina County, is on U.S. Highway 90 and the Southern Pacific Railroad, forty-one miles west of mid-town San Antonio. The Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built through the county from the east in 1881, and the first sale out of its Hondo City plat was made on October 1, 1881. The community had twenty-five residents in 1884, 200 in 1892, and 2,500 in 1915. A post office designated Hondo City began operation in 1882.

Ownership of the eastern half of the township was disputed in court, and the suit stopped all development until it was settled in 1891. Castroville was displaced as the county seat in favor of Hondo in an election on August 27, 1892. The courthouse was completed in 1893, built on a block of land the railroad president had donated ten years earlier for a courthouse lot. The name of the post office was changed to Hondo in 1895. The town quickly became a trade and shipping center for the area's agricultural and ranching economy. During its heyday in the early 1900s most of the downtown business buildings were built, chiefly of D'Hanis brick. During the late 1930s and early 1940s two annexes were added to the courthouse, indoor plumbing was installed, and the distinctive tower was removed. Extensive interior remodeling was completed by February 28, 1988.

Hondo was incorporated on May 14, 1942. That year Hondo Army Airfieldqv was built on 3,675 acres of land in Hondo. The base was shut down in 1946, but civilian contract flight training and pilot screening programs for Air Force cadets continued operations; the town owns the base. In July 1971 Hondo became the location of a radar weather station. In 1989 the community had 200 businesses. The population in 1980 was 6,057, and in 1990 it was 6,081. Hondo derives its name from the Spanish for "deep" (as in "Deep Creek"). Hunting for deer and upland game birds are popular in season.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). Charles S. Potts, Railroad Transportation in Texas (Austin: University of Texas, 1909). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin, Hondo, Texas; Medina County.

Martin O. Noonan

"HONDO, TX." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Aug 18 12:09:10 2000 ].

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