in a Pecan Shell
Sutherland Springs was founded by a Dr. John
Sutherland Jr. who set up a post office and stagecoach stop in 1851. It
was officially designated the County Seat of Wilson County in 1860, but folks
were busy during the Civil War and when it was over, some people preferred
county seat and so it was.
When the railroad came in 1877, it became known as the "Saratoga of the
South" for its waters.
Springs Today Today
what was Sutherland Springs sits just South and East of the highway. Two buildings
spaced far apart are all that is left of the Old Town, although there are street
One of the buildings is the former bank. Hackberry trees (and
poison ivy) now grow in the middle of the roofless room and the vault is still
there with its cast iron ornamentation around the door.
Sod farms have
become a part of the local economy and the owners of the old 52 room Hotel Sutherland
razed it to have soil to grow more grass. The building had been closed since 1923.
of what's left of downtown Sutherland Springs|
building that is not the former bank|
The bank vault
R- Back of bank building
Panoranic View of Old Town Sutherland Springs|
Joseph Polley House (c. 1850) |
still stands on Highway 87 near Sutherland
photos, November 2000
have to look hard to find information on Sutherland Springs beyond what is found
in the Handbook of Texas. To furnish our readers with more than this we
turned to the excellent Taking
the Waters in Texas: Springs, Spas and Fountains of Youth by Janet Mace Valenza.
(University of Texas Press, 2000)
Sutherland Springs was an extremely
popular resort and there was a claim that within a very small area there were
over 100 separate sulphur springs. The main bathing areas were by the river
(Cibolo Creek) and the one with darker water was called "black springs"
and was reserved for men while women used the "white springs". One legend
has it that the waters of the Black Springs never froze.
made to bottle the water from Sutherland Springs and shares were sold; however
no bottling plant ever materialized. The springs were popular with religious groups
for holding revivals there and after 1917, the US Army contracted to have wounded
soldiers from WWI
Because of its isolation, trains were about the
only way to visit the springs. During its heyday women and children would take
a train to the springs during the week and then fathers/ husbands would join them
on the weekend.
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San Antonio Hotels
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Springs Related StoriesTyrant's
Gold by Mike Cox (Texas Tale Column)
When General Antonio Lopez
de Santa Anna came to Texas in 1836 he left behind death and destruction -- and
Springs Old Photos
Early 1900s photo courtesy James M Ziegler
Our special thanks to Author and Raconteur C.F.
Eckhardt who guided us to Sutherland Springs and suggested it be included
in our Ghost Town series. Eckhardt
is the author of several books on Texas Folklore. Today his
columns are published here in Texas Escapes. - Editor|
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic,
endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local
history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of their town, please
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