in a Pecan Shell
Spanish exploration into the area is responsible for many of the area's topographical
features. In 1790 Juan de Ugalde (namesake of Uvalde)
led united tribes of Comanche, Taovaya, and Tawakoni Indians to drive the Apaches
from what is now Utopia.
In 1839 and 1841 there were reported battles
with the Comanches in Sabinal Canyon, but it wasn't until 1852 when Capt. William
Ware settled here, bringing his son and six slaves to settle the valley. Other
settlers arrived shortly thereafter and more still in 1853. The community was
first called Waresville when the post office opened in 1856. A planned
colony on 47,000 acres failed to materialize when potential colonists balked.
While local Tonkawa Indians
got along with settlers, the settlers were still plagued by the Kickapoos and
Lipan Apaches. In 1876 a storekeeper named Kincheloe moved his family a mile north
of Waresville. Kincheloe built a large house platted a town and donated land for
churches, school and even a park. In 1884 the survey was filed in Uvalde County
under the name Montana, Texas. The Waresville post office moved to the
new town, but couldn't open under the name Montana. Residents felt the name of
Utopia was fitting - and so Montana was renamed and the post office granted. By
1880 the town had a population of 150 and weekly stage service connecting it to
Uvalde and Bandera.
giant Cypress tree in Utopia remains upright thanks to Jean Maxie of Conroe |
Photo Courtesy Nolan
|Life in Utopia was
tranquil and uneventful. The years passed and by the end of WWII
the population remained at the 1880 level of 150. The Sabinal River was dammed
in the the 1950s to help retain water during the bad drought but families drifted
away and by the 1960s there were only 60 people living here. The town rebounded
after the mid-1960s with the opening of a library, museum, and various community
Tourism increased with the opening of Lost
Maples State Natural Area in 1979.
The population of Utopia was
360 in 1990 but was given as 241 on the 2010 map.
The Sabinal Canyon
Museum is open Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Utopia Historical Marker
Marker - Hwy 187 (East Main Street)|
an 1886 Indian raid on their nearby Little Creek home, R. H. Kincheloe and family
moved here, built a home and in 1873 a 2-story rock store. They platted town as
"Montana", giving land for churches, school, and community square. Post office
moved from Waresville in 1883. Methodists had church here before town was founded.
Baptists organized their church in 1888. Church of Christ congregation relocated
here, 1902. New name praising climate was chosen by Postmaster George Barker.
Stores and shops were built. Town is now a center for ranching,
sponsored by citizens of Utopia - 1973
1907 Uvalde County Postal map showing Utopia|
(Above "E" in "UVALDE"
near Bandera County line)
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos of their town, please contact