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Runnels County TX
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Southwestern Runnels County | West Texas / Panhandle

31° 38' 50" N, 100° 2' 46" W (31.647222, -100.046111)

U.S. Hwy 67, FM 2872 & 2l33,
and the Santa Fe Railroad
8 miles SW of Ballinger the county seat
28 miles NE of San Angelo
Area code 325
Zip Code 76875
Population: 349 Est. (2019)
483 Est. (2010) 466 (2000, 1990)

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Rowena TX- Depot Street, 1912
Depot Street looking south, Rowena, postmarked 1912
Click on image to enlarge
Photo courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

History in a Pecan Shell

In 1888 a railroad section house was named Rowena Station after a woman who was either the paramour of Jonathan Miles (namesake of Miles, Texas) or the wife of the railway's clerk. Postal authorities felt the spelling was too close to Ravenna in Fannin County, so they wouldn't grant a post office under that name.

The town was platted in 1898 and named Baronsville after developer Paul J. Baron. In 1900, the town was briefly renamed after a land agent named John Bolf.

Postal authorities changed their mind in 1901 and the post office was named Rowena. Paul Baron allowed the name to become official in 1904.

Rowena was settled principally by German and Czech Texans - many from Fayette County, Texas. Even today townspeople in Fayetteville (Fayette County) have relatives in Rowena.

In 1904 the population was fewer than 100, but it swelled to nearly 600 by 1908. By 1930 it had reached a zenith of 800 Rowenans.

Rowena was the birthplace of Bonnie Parker, and was the scene of a bank robbery that made national headlines in 1968 when Doc Newton decided to make one last try at bank robbery.

Rowena Texas school

Rowena school
Photo courtesy Stephen & Elizabeth Taylor, December 25, 2005

TX - Rowena School

Rowena school
Photo courtesy Stephen & Elizabeth Taylor, December 25, 2005

Rowena TX - Catholic High School
St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Rowena
Photo courtesy Jim & Lou Kinsey, 2003
More Texas Schoolhouses

Rowena TX - St. Joseph Catholic Church
Rowena street scene with St. Joseph's Catholic Church
Photo courtesy Jim & Lou Kinsey, 2003
More Texas Churches

Rowena, Texas water tower
Rowena water tower
Photo courtesy Jim & Lou Kinsey, 2003
More Texas Water Towers

TX - Rowena post office
The post office in Rowena
Photo courtesy Jim & Lou Kinsey
More Texas Post Offices

Gin Plant at  Rowena, Texas
Gin Plant at Rowena
Postcard courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection
More on Cotton & Cotton Gins

Rowena TX- Depot Street, 1912
Saloon, postmarked 1910
Click on image to enlarge
Postcard courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

Rowena TX- Depot Street, 1912
Rowena, Texas 1910 postmark
Postcard courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

More About Bonnie and Clyde:

  • Running with Bonnie and Clyde
  • My Life with Bonnie and Clyde
  • How Bonnie and Clyde Were Caught.
  • Rowena Texas - Birthplace of Bonnie Parker
  • The "Red River Plunge" Bridge of Bonnie & Clyde
  • Bonnie Parker's Alma Mater
  • Ina Knowles Has a Brush With Bonnie and Clyde
  • A Lock of Bonnie Parker's Hair
  • Clyde Barrow’s Funeral

  • Rowena Chronicles

  • The Zentners by Mike Cox
    The first time I talked with Zentner was shortly after the movie "Bonnie and Clyde" came out. The biographical material on Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker that rolled after the bloody ending of the film noted that Bonnie had been born in Rowena. That seemed like a story to me, so I asked Zentner if he or anyone else around Rowena had known the woman who went on to become the nation's most famous female outlaw... more

  • Rowena, Texas Forum
  • Rowena, Texas and School
    My mother's family is from Rowena, and my mother lived there until 1958 or 1959. I remember her telling me that she attended the Rowena School so it could not have closed in the 1940's (she was born in 1950). My grandmother is buried in the Rowena cemetery along with several other family members including her parents. We still have our family reunion in Rowena in the church basement, as the church was never completed and a big set of steps leads up to the roof of the basement. There was a building in Rowena that my mom showed me when I was a kid that had been struck by lightning many years before that still had a hole in the center of the roof. I would love to see if it is still there, and get some histories on the buildings from older family members. Thanks. - Allegra Watson, Mineral Wells, June 06, 2006

  • Rowena, Texas and School
    I grew up in and around Rowena. My Dad and his family moved there from Mexico I am assuming in the 40’s or 50’s. My dad is still living there, not much is left there as in businesses, or really anything (lol). From what I remember about the school, I am thinking it was more in the 70’s that is closed, because I remember my cousins going to school there. The parish hall/gym is still used for events. Just a little information I remember. - Becky Fierro Fuentes, April 14, 2006

  • School in Rowena Texas
    I wanted to share a little information about Rowena, Texas that I have aquired over my 24 years of life. I lived in Rowena for the first 18 years of my life and my mother was born and raised in Rowena. She was born in 1949 and attended the school of which you have posted a picture. So the info about the school closing in late 40's is not correct. To my mother's memory it was mid 60's when the school closed. I would love to share as much info. about this fantastic town, just let me know what you want to know about this town. Thanks - Sonia, March 25, 2006

  • School in Rowena Texas
    Photographer's Note: This is the old school (see top photo) at Rowena in southwestern Runnels County. I found a little old lady with a long but somewhat fuzzy memory who seemed to think it closed in the great wave of consolidations in the late 40's. It sits on a half-block near the center of town. It has a good roof and is sealed against the elements. Bed and breakfast, maybe? Of course, who goes to Rowena these days? This was taken Chrismas Eve, and things were quiet. I have no information on when this was built. There is no plaque or anything to give a clue. However, it does not appear to be standard WPA architecture. I believe it predates the WPA and probably dates back to the 1920's.- Stephen Taylor, December 28, 2005

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  • TX  Runnels  County  1907 postal Map
    1907 postal map showing Rowena in Southwestern Runnels County
    between Ballinger & San Angelo
    From 1907 Texas state map #2090

    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip
    Panhandle | West Texas

    Rowena , Texas Nearby Towns:
    Ballinger the county seat
    San Angelo
    See Runnels County

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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.


























































































































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