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IATAN, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Mitchell County, Texas Panhandle
I-20 and Highway 80
6 Miles W of Westbrook
About 10 Miles W of Colorado City
About 20 Miles E of Big Spring
Population: 0


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Iatan Cemetery Texas
Photo courtesy Mr. & Mrs. Sayles

History in a Pecan Shell

Iatan began life as a stop on the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1881. It was also known as Vista, Texas and the unusual name is thought to have come from the Williams-Waddell Iatan Tank Ranch.

A post office opened in early 1890 and served the residents until the mid 1920s when it moved to nearby Westbrook. Iatan’s school merged with the Westbrook schools in 1938 when there was an approximate population of 125. It dropped to a mere 20 for the 1950 Census and remained at that level for years.

By the 1970s only a depot remained – and today only the cemetery.
Iatan Cemetery tombstones, Texas
Photo courtesy Mr. & Mrs. Sayles
More Texas Cemeteries
Iatan was suggested for inclusion by Mr. & Mrs. Sayles who wrote:
We would like to add the small town of Iatan (pronounced  like "I can" only "I tan") which was located between Colorado City and  Big Spring
. Iatan became a Ghost Town in the 1960s. Empty stores and empty houses lined the dirt road of town. The buildings are now gone; but for those of us whose ancestors lived and died there; we hope it will not be forgotten.

Getting There

Today, only a cemetery remains. To reach the Iatan Cemetery, which was about a mile before reaching the old town; travel west from  Colorado City on I-20 and take the Iatan Exit (which used to lead  you to the old town). Go north about 1 to 1-1/2 miles. The cemetery is on the right. - Mr. & Mrs. Sayles, January 17, 2008

Iatan, Texas Forum:

Subject: Iatan, Texas
Yall historians,

Just a tidbit for the historically minded.

On the west side of Big Spring on old maps there is a site where the railroad was built across almost a quick-sand low-lying landscape. The name it was given was Infierno, Spanish for Hell.

On the railroad east of Big Spring in Mitchell County you can still find the old cemetery of the town called Iatan (I have an infant cousin buried there) and have heard that the name derived from Satan. Which makes sense because the place where the railroad was laid down was also a bog, at times a lake. The legend is that the letter S resembled a fancy letter I in script and some map maker thought surely no one would name a place Satan and so he made it Iatan.

Here's the twist: I have just come across a reference to one of the names for the Comanche tribe as Iatan and you well-know that this was Comanche territory. Couple this name with the hatred the Army, Texas Rangers and Texans in general had for the Comanche and Iatan might have been somebody's joke--to make the Comanche into the Satanic. - dp, October 23, 2014
Texas - Mitchell County , Nolan County 1940s map
1940s Mitchell County Map showing Iatan (near Howard County line)
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Iatan, Texas
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