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Mason County TX
Mason County

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Mason County, Texas Hill Country

30 54' 34" N, 98 58' 48" W
( 30.909444, -98.98)

Hwy 71 and FM 501
NE of Mason the county seat
NW of Llano
About 95 miles NW of Austin
Population: 125 est. (1990, 2000)

Pontotoc, Texas Area Hotels
Llano Hotels
Pontotoc Texas, ruins with windmill
TE photo

Ruins with vegetation,  Pontotoc Texas
Ruins of San Fernando Academy in Pontotoc
(Collapsed in March, 2016)

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, August 2005

History in a Pecan Shell

The owner of the town's first store came from Pontotoc, Mississippi so that's likely the source. The town dates from the arrival of several families in 1859 and a post office was established in 1880.

The San Fernando Academy was founded in 1882 and Pontotoc's success seemed a certainty. That was until a typhoid fever epidemic decimated the population.

In Van Horn they bragged the town was so healthy they had to shoot a man to start a cemetery. In Pontotoc it became so unhealthy that in 1887 they filled up one cemetery and had to open another in 1888.

A proposal was made in 1890 for Pontotoc to become the county seat of a new county to be named Mineral. But the citizens of Mason felt it would take too much Mason County acreage and they collectively threw a wrench in the legislative works.

Pontotoc never got a railroad although several came within a few miles of the town. The Academy closed in 1890 and the decline began.

A small boom in the form of a mica-mining operation came about in the 1920s which increased the population by 50% but even then - it only reached 300.

A disastrous fire in August 1947 took out a good portion of the stores downtown.

The town wisely left several of the fire-gutted stone buildings and the photo opportunities are worth driving out of the way for.

Pontotoc, Texas Landmarks

Pontotoc Texas stone ruins with picket fence
Pontotoc Texas stone ruins
The handsome ruins of the former San Fernando Academy.
In Pontotoc, even the ruins have a picket fence

TE Photos, September 2000

Historical Marker:

Pontotoc and San Fernando Academy

Pontotoc, settled about 1859, was named by first merchant, M. R. Kidd, for his former home town in Mississippi. Post office was opened 1878 in the B. J. Willis home, with Mrs. Willis postmaster. Founded by interested citizens, San Fernando Academy (probably named for nearby creek), opened 1883. Pupils (200 during academy's career) took regular subjects or courses leading toward teacher certificates. Principals were K. T. Hamilton and W. C. Roaten. After academy failed, site was sold by W. J. and B. J. Willis and used by the public school until 1927.

Pontotoc Tx ruins of former San Fernando Academy, with cactus
Pontotoc Texas well drilling business
L - Another view of the ruins
R - Well drilling business in Pontotoc

TE Photos, September 2000

Pontotoc Texas ruins
Ruins of San Fernando Academy in Pontotoc
(Collapsed in March, 2016)

Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006

Ruins in Pontotoc Texas
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, August 2005

Pontotoc Texas rock house
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, August 2005

Downtown Pontotoc Texas
Downtown Pontotoc
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006

Downtown Pontotoc
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006

Pontotoc Texas post office & store
Pontotoc Texas Post Office
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006

Pontotoc Texas closed gas station
A closed gas station
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006
More Texas Gas Stations

More about Pontotoc

Pontotoc TX - Pontotoc Vineyard
Courtesy Michael Barr, Dec. 2018
Pontotoc - Land of Hanging Grapes

by Michael Barr

Native Son

General Ira Eaker by Bill Bradfield

Pontotoc was the birthplace of US Air Force Gen. Ira C. Eaker, WWII

Pontotoc, Texas Forum
  • San Fernando Academy in Pontotoc collapsed
    Thought you guys might want to know the San Fernando Academy in Pontotoc collapsed. I did a blog about it here... http://www.jasonrweingart.com/blog/2016/3/19/when-history-dies - Best, Jason Weingart, March 21, 2016

  • In Everyone We Trust
    Back in the Summer of 2001, my family and I were on a trip and stopped in Pontotoc. We had recently moved to San Angelo and were in route to Austin. In that part of Texas, there are few towns between the cities so when we saw a sign for Pontotoc, we decided to stop and find a store. The town looked just like the pictures you have posted and to our surprise, there actually was a little store, so to speak.

    Having 3 small children, invariably somebody had to go to the bathroom and everybody wanted a drink. We went into the store but found nobody there. Assuming somebody would show up, we waited for about 10 minutes but nobody appeared. I happened to notice that on the counter there was a note pad where people had put their names and what they had purchased. After 10 minutes alone in the store, we decided to write down what we were purchasing, we noted how much each item cost (guessed if the price was not on the item) and left a suitable amount of money to cover the tab. We merrily left the store realizing what a unique town Pontotoc is. Over the next couple of years while we lived in San Angelo, every time we drove through Pontotoc, my wife and I would laugh about our experience at the Pontotoc store. - Grant Nichols, San Antonio, June 01, 2007

  • I had the chance to drive through Pontotoc last Saturday. I decided to check your superb website for a taste of what I missed but could see again this weekend. I was surprised to see "Pontotoc still has a newspaper (The Enterprise) for its estimated population of 125" written on the Pontotoc page. I was curious enough to call the post office to ask if the Enterprise was still being printed (as there was no phone listing for the paper). The two ladies I spoke to said Pontotoc didn't have a newspaper (one has lived in Pontotoc for 50 years). For the record, they wish there was a newspaper. Since I believe in the accuracy of your site, I'll ask around this weekend. In the meantime, do you know if the Pontotoc Enterprise is still published? Have you seen an edition? Thanks. - Bill Turner, August 12, 2004

  • TX Llano County 1940s Map
    Mason County 1940s map showing Pontotoc
    near Llano and San Saba County lines
    From Texas state map #4335
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip
    Pontotoc, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Mason the county seat
    See Mason County

    Contiguous Counties:
    McCulloch County (N) San Saba County (NE) Llano County (E) Gillespie County (S) Kimble County (SW) Menard County (W)

    Texas Hill Country

    Book Hotel Here:
    Llano Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas 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 us.







































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