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CISCO, TEXAS

Eastland County, Texas Panhandle | North Central Texas

I-20 and US 183
46 miles E of Abilene
10 miles W of Eastland
106 miles W of Fort Worth
Population: 3,875 (2010)

Book Hotel Here > Cisco Hotels

Drug store sign
A downtown drug store signage with the reflection of the traffic signal of Cisco's main intersection
TE Photo 2004

History in a Pecan Shell

Red Gap was the city's original name. The Reverend C. G. Stevens arrived in the late 1870s, established a post office and church and named the town.

In 1881 when the Houston and Texas Central Railway came into the area. they crossed the Texas and Pacific Railroad tracks near Red Gap and locals moved to the crossing. In 1884 this new community applied for a post office in the name of one of the railroad financiers, John A. Cisco, of New York.

Cisco became known as the "Gate City of the West" from the immigrant brochures issued by the T & P.

By 1892 Cisco was a thriving town with two newspapers, but the following year it was hit by a devastating tornado, taking the lives of twenty-eight people and destroying much of the town.

The Eastland County oil boom of 1919-21, was played-out more in Ranger, but Cisco's population increased as well. Population estimates during the boom were as high as 15,000.

In 1927 the famed "Santa Claus Bank Robbery" occurred two days before Christmas. The First National Bank was robbed and two girls kidnapped. One robber died of wounds, one served time and one was executed. Marshall Ratliff, the mastermind, was lynched by a mob in downtown Eastland after killing a popular jailer during a failed escape attempt. A book by A.C. Greene gives a detailed and entertaining account of the robbery and the fiasco was made into at least one movie.

Cisco, Texas Landmarks / Attractions

Cisco's wide brick streets, sturdy architecture, compact downtown and small population make an excellent movie set.

Travelers on I-20 should consider taking a short break and driving through the brick streets of downtown Cisco to get a feel of a 1930s town that has remained.

Mobley Hotel, Cisco, Texas
Cisco's Mobley Hotel c.1916
TE Photo, 2004
Hilton Museum - 309 Conrad Hilton Ave. (Hwy. 6)
The Mobley Hotel, Conrad Hilton's first venture into the hotel business in 1919 is now in use as the chamber of commerce and community center. Historical museum and 2 restored hotel rooms open M-F:9AM-5PM.
Cisco, Texas scenes
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Cisco Masonic Lodge, Texas
The Cisco Masonic Lodge
TE Photo 2004
Coca Cola ghost sign in Cisco, Texas
Coca Cola "Ghost Sign" in Downtown Cisco
Photo courtesy Morgan Palmer 2005
Morning scene in Cisco, Texas
Cisco in the morning
TE Photo, 2004
Palace Theatre, Cisco, Texas


The sign of the old Palace Theatre
TE Photo, 2004
Feed store interior, Cisco, Texas


Inside a Cisco Feed Store
TE Photo 2004
Rexall Drugs, Cisco, Texas




Rexall Drugs
TE Photos 2004
Laguna Hotel today,  Cisco Texas,

The Laguna Hotel (across the street from the Mobley) was undergoing window replacement in 2004
TE Photo, 2004
The Laguna Hotel, Cisco, Texas
The Laguna Hotel in its heyday
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
The Laguna Hotel in the 1940s
The Laguna Hotel in the 1940s
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Cisco, Texas Main Street scene
"Main Street Looking North, Cisco, Texas"
1920 Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Tourist park, Cisco, Texas
"Tourist Park, Cisco, Texas"
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
Cisco Recreation: Lake Cisco

Nearby Destinations:

See Eastland County towns & ghost towns
28 miles North to Breckenridge
10 miles East to Eastland
46 miles West to Abilene
Cisco Chronicles
  • The-Night-the-Posse-Chased-Santa by Maggie Van Ostrand
    December 23 will mark the 79th anniversary of the bloody melodrama which was about to take place in the town of Cisco in West Central Texas, on the day before Christmas Eve 1927. I know about it because of an article written at the time by the great Texas columnist, Boyce House. He should know. He was there...
  • Santa Robber by Mike Cox
    Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” stands as an enduring classic, but truth being stranger than fiction, Texas can claim one of the nation’s more bizarre real-life holiday tales – a story of a Santa Claus gone bad...
  • The Day Eastland Texas Hanged Santa Claus by John Troesser
  • The Great Airship Mystery by C. F. Eckhardt
    Patrick C. Byrnes, a telegraph repairman for the T&P railroad, not only saw the mysterious object up close, he got to talk to the presumptive captain of the flight crew. According to Byrnes the craft was about 200 feet long by 50 feet wide. It had ‘snail-shell-like’ appendages at the nose and tail. Inside them were ‘powerful gasoline engines’ which apparently operated large fan-like propellors to move the craft. Two more of the devices were attached to the side of the ship and were used for steering... more
  • Cisco Twister by Mike Cox
    In Cisco’s Oakwood Cemetery, five graves bear the same last name and the same date of death – April 28, 1893. That was the day a killer tornado struck the then prosperous Eastland County railroad town...
  • Police chief held captive History Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
  • Cisco Texas Forum
  • Subject: The Dam, and Cisco's zoo
    Dear Texas Escapes, For some reason, I was using Google Earth to look for Lake Cisco, having in my mind memories of times many years ago. The late 1920's and early 1930's to be exact. I remembered that dam -- reputed to be the largest hollow-core dam in the country at the time. And that tremendously large swimming area. There was a very tall slide on the east side of the area, probably fifty feet in height. But you didn't slide down it by yourself, there were small cars which fitted into the slide and you sat in the cars. I remember that there was a warning written on the side of the slide: "Look out for the cars." However, my spelling wasn't that good at the time -- I was six -- and I thought it said, Look out for the bears!!!" I didn't do much swimming -- I was too busy watching for those carnivorous monsters.

    But the crowning event of the day was a visit to the zoo. My Aunt Fannie Bess was escorting her daughter and us three nephews through the zoo when a very unhappy monkey escaped from its cage and began making threatening advances toward us. Aunt F.B. was kept quite busy trying to hide us all behind her and ward off the monkey with an umbrella at the same time.

    I know that the answer to the question by that person about whether the zoo was destroyed by the 1920 tornado is a definite "No".

    Now I have a question. I could not make out the dam's location using Google Earth. It appears that the road which once went across the dam now passes to the east of the former swimming area/zoo. Is that correct? Just a bit of curiosity in an old coot who is beginning to live in his memories. - Charles Porter, May 29, 2007

  • Crosses N of I - 20
    I pass through [Cisco], and have done so for sixty plus years. I love the friendly people there. Everything concerning Cisco / Eastland is of interest to me. I do have one question:
    What is the story on the beautiful white crosses on the hill, north of I -20? Is there a public road leading to them? My preacher asked me, but I did not have an answer. They are beautiful though. If anyone can tell me, please contact me - ibbilly@bluebonnet.net. - Billy Floyd, Mt.Pleasant, Texas, August 06, 2006

  • Subject: Looking for Information
    Dear Editor, I don't know if you can help me or not. I am looking for information for a story I am writing. I am looking for info on an abandoned zoo outside of Cisco, Texas. It was close to Lake Cisco and the original dam & swimming pool. I have seen the rock work that was said to be part of the original zoo. My grandmother said that all the animals ran away. Do you have any information? Could this have been an operating zoo before the tornado that hit Cisco in 1920? Sincerely, Holly Huestis Johnson, March 18, 2006
  • Cisco, Texas
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