Photo courtesy of Ron Duckworth, June 2001
a Pecan Shell
Plata or La
Plata as it was known, was settled in the 1880s. In 1883 Robert
R. Ellison, brought 3,000 head of his father's cattle to Plata. He
brought the cattle by train to Alpine,
then drove them to Alamito Creek.
The Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway laid tracks through the
area in 1930 and Plata was made a station. Plata had once had a store,
which is no longer in business.
According to the Handbook of Texas, Plata is still a ranching
community today with a few extant buildings and the railroad siding.
Plata in the 1940s
Plata Texas Forum
Photo courtesy of Ron Duckworth, June 2001
in the 1940s
on a West Texas Paint Train in the 1940s
by the Hall Sisters:
Very remote—just a railroad section house. An old couple named Fannie
and Mac McKinley lived there with their dog, who had his own plate
set at their dining table. They were truly wonderful, warm people
to know. Fannie tried to teach us girls how to play the piano. They
raised turkeys, which often felled prey to coyotes, mountain lions,
and bobcats. Mac McKinley was a section foreman, for the Santa Fe
RR. They lived in the section house on one side of the tracks and
there was a ranch house on the other side of the tracks. J.C. Hall
painted the section house every other year.
Sometimes our father would put the motor car on the tracks and send
Lola and I (all by ourselves) down to visit with the McKinleys.
When we got there, Mr. McKinley would take the motor car off the
tracks and when we were ready to head back, he would put the motorcar
back on the tracks towards our boxcars. I am sure that the Santa
Fe Railroad would have had a fit if they knew that.
Plata, Texas (Presidio Co)
Sometime around 1950, my father--who worked for the Santa Fe Railroad--was
temporarily assigned to Plata. He, my mother and I lived close to
the tracks, but I don't remember whether or not it was the section
house. I was only 4-5 years old at the time, and the only clear
memories I have are those about playing with some Hispanic children
in the cool mud and pools in the shade beneath the RR water tank.
I couldn't speak Spanish, and they couldn't speak English, but we
had a good time. - Jim Robinson, August 04, 2013
Since a friend
of mine owns the property across the road from the old section station
on the “Orient” railroad I spend a lot of time there. Prior to WWII
there was a fairly large population along Alamito Creek and considerable
truck and subsistence farming going on. The railroad has now been
purchased by the Texas Department of Transportation and leased to
a Mexican consortium, Texas-Pacifico Transportation Limited. About
one short train a week is now running to and from Presidio. The
ruins which are shown in your account have had a protective cover
put over them to, at least slow down deterioration. There is now
a historical marker at the ruins. The house was built by John Davis
who arrived no later than 1870. He had a peach orchard and made
peach brandy which made Plata a popular stopping place on the old
Chihuahua Trail. - Gerald G. Raun, Alpine, Texas, March 04, 2006
My son and
I visited both Plata and Casa
Piedra in June, 2001. They both are way away from anywhere.
The road is mostly graded dirt and now continues beyond Casa
Piedra all the way to Presidio.
Only ruins remain of Plata. It is well worth a look-see. There is
a historical marker there to explain the history. .... - Ron Duckworth
- Arlington, Tx, March 16, 2002
is at the south end of ranch road 169, south of Marfa.
Rand McNally U.S. Road Atlas, West Texas map, shows Casa
Piedra on a dirt road south of road 169 that continues onto
the "River Road" just east of Presidio.
Page 110 of "The
Roads of Texas", Shearer publications, locates both towns and
the roads and the ex Santa Fe (now South Orient) Railroad. By the
way we understand the rail line is now being rehabilitated and a
couple of months ago the rails looked as though a train or two had
Also AAA Texas maps show Casa
Piedra and connecting roads. --- Dale Gunnar, January 21, 2002
Plata Area Hotels
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County TX 1940s Map showing Plata, Alamito Creek and the railroad.
From Texas state map #4335
Texas General Land Office
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