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STILES, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Reagan County, West Texas

Stiles, Texas Area Hotels
Big Spring Hotels | Fort Stockton Hotels

Hwy 137 North from Big Lake, at 12 1/2 miles, 137 makes a hard left turn. Follow 137 approximately 6 additional miles to Stiles. The former Reagan County Courthouse is on the south side of the highway.

1911 Reagan County courthouse in Stiles, Texas
The 1911 former Reagan County Courthouse in Stiles
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010

History in a Pecan Shell

Stiles dates from 1903 when Reagan County was cut from Tom Green County. John H. Reagan held a number of positions, including Treasurer of the Confederacy. He was also a Congressman and Senator and the First Railroad Commissioner when that post was created in 1891. John H. Reagan died in 1905.

The town was named after a local rancher, William G. Stiles and became the county seat when Reagan County was born. It was the only town. It had a central location and a courthouse was built in 1911 from the abundant limestone near the townsite.

Big things were in store. But the railroad came to Big Lake and you can guess what happened shortly thereafter. Big Lake became the county seat in 1925.

On Christmas Eve, 1999, someone set fire to the courthouse at Stiles. He was arrested since he had attempted the act twice before and the police knew who he was. He is also accused of starting fires in several other counties bordering Reagan. A building in the ghost town of Girvin (Pecos County) has also been burned.

The building now stands gutted, with only the cut stone in place and some of that loose. The ruin can be viewed from the highway (137) or even closer, through a chain link security fence.
Drawing of 1911 Reagan County courthouse in Stiles, Texas
The 1911 Reagan County courthouse as it looked originally.
This drawing is hanging in the Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street in Big Lake.

- Terry Jeanson, October 2011 photo
Stiles, Texas - 1911 Reagan County courthouse  built of  native limestone
The lone limestone courthouse
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
The ruins of 1911 Reagan County courthouse interior,  Stiles, Texas
Ruins interior
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
Stiles, Texas -  ruins of 1911 Reagan County courthouse interior,
Same view six years later
Photo courtesy Kelly Stout, July 2016
The ruins of 1911 Reagan County courthouse interior,  Stiles, Texas
Ruins interior
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
1911 Reagan County courthouse , Stiles, Texas - cracked limestone arch
The cracked limestone arch
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
1911 Reagan County courthouse , Stiles, Texas - cracked limestone chimney
Limestone chimney
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
Stiles Tx 1911 Reagan County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
Stiles Tx Reagan County Courthouse ruins
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
Stiles Tx 1911 Reagan County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
Stiles, Texas - cactus on  ruins
Cactus
Photo courtesy Kelly Stout, July 2016
Stiles Tx - Stiles Cemetery historical marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2010
Stiles Cemetery

Stiles Nearby Attractions

  • Reagan County Courthouse - Big Lake, Texas
  • In addition to Stiles, the county's second ghost town, Texon is 14 miles west of Big Lake on Highway 67 where it intersects with FM 1675.
  • If you visit Reagan County, there was also a stagecoach station and U.S. Army camp at Grierson Spring, just west of Big Lake near Best.
  • Stiles Cemetery
  • Stile, TX - First Reagan County Courthouse Centennial Marker
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, June 2006
    "Site of the First Courthouse
    Built in Reagan County"
    1936 Texas Centennial Marker

    The people weren't as ambitious as the townsfolk of Callahan City in Callahan County. There they moved the still-new stone jail to the new county seat in Baird, but here the building was bigger and the distance greater. So here the former courthouse stands, like it's handsome cousin in Sherwood next door in Irion County.

    Stiles retained its post office until 1939. The town is listed in T. Lindsay Baker's Ghost Towns of Texas.

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    © John Troesser
    Stiles, Texas Forum
  • Subject: The Day that the Rains Came in Stiles, TX
    I wanted to drop a little line about Stiles, TX. I worked for the Concho Valley Council, boy Scouts of America based out of San Angelo from 2003-2005. I served the Permian Basin District which covered Reagan County. We decided to have a District Campout on a County Judges land that was about 1 miles west of the Stiles Courthouse. On Thursday they reported that we had a 20% chance of rain for Friday and a beautiful weekend after that. We arrived Friday and started setting up around 2 and had a little sprinkle. We all laughed and said “well, that must have been our 20%”. Dang were we wrong. After about 5 Troop made it in a set up it came a gulley washer! The land could not soak up the water fast enough and by midnight we were all walking in about 8 inches of water. We slept wherever we could and in the morning started packing up since we couldn’t have a campout in the middle of what was now a lake. Only then did we realize we were going to have to be towed out. The Judge had a big tractor on the place so we daisy chained most of the trucks and trailers and pulled them (over a mile) out to the highway. On the way out, we found one more Troop that had gotten stuck coming in and had hiked down the road to the left (all the rest of us were to the right) and had stayed the night in the nice warm hunting cabin the Judge had that the rest of us didn’t know about! - Mike Mitchell, April 28, 2011


  • Subject: Stiles and the Old Courthouse
    In addition to your statements on Stiles this town stated as a Wells Fargo stage stop between San Angelo and Ft. Stocton Texas. This stop served a need in western history . Not only as law and order with its courthouse, but also had a boothill, indian village, a six room school house made of brick a quarter mile east of the courthouse.

    As I was told a pig farmer was ordered to sell off his pigs or the county officials would kill off his herd. The night before this was to happen he turned his herd of hamsurd hogs loose. Today the native havalena are a crossbreed of this domestic herd.

    After they moved the county seat to Big Lake the old courthouse became a meeting place for the long time rancher, county employees, and Mexican Nationals working state side. I can remember a birthday party that was held in the top of that grand old courthouse. There is a lot of history tied up in that old GRAND COURTHOUSE and surrounding area. - Moore. November 20, 2001

  • On the addendum for Stiles Texas there is a statement that the local population of Javelina has been augmented by a cross with loosed domestic hogs. This is not possible. Javelina have no relation to pigs or hogs of any kind, they are actually a pecary, and the two will not, and can not cross. Just wanted to let you know. - Reader, December 23, 2003

    Stiles, Texas Area Hotels:
    San Angelo Hotels | Fort Stockton Hotels

  • Courthouse at Stiles Texas
    The Courthouse at Stiles before the fire
    Photo Courtesy Big Lake Chamber of Commerce, Tammy Blakely, Manager
    Former Reagan County Courthouse in Stiles, Texas
    The former Reagan County Courthouse at Stiles
    TE photo, 2000
    Former Reagan County Courthouse in Stiles, Texas
    Another view of the former Reagan County Courthouse
    TE photo, 2000

    Stiles, Texas Area Towns:
    Texon | Big Lake |
    Sterling City | San Angelo | Big Spring
    See also West Texas

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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.


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