Sabinal is a small, charming Texas town with unique shops, restaurants, historic buildings and community festivals. It is located 60 miles west of San Antonio at the intersection of Highway 90 and Highway 187. Sabinal is the gateway to the beautiful Frio/Sabinal River Regions of the Texas Hill Country.
Sabinal Historical Chronology
Sabinal was founded in 1854 by Thomas B. Hammer. He was the first settler and operated a stage stop at the east bank of the Sabinal river. Later, he became the first post master at post office opened in Sabinal, in Oct, 1854. Sabinal was named by the Spanish for ‘Rio Sabinal’ and Cypress trees along the river.
The second United States cavalry established Camp Sabinal on the riverbank opposite Hammer’s Station, to protect people and commerce on the road from San Antonio to El Paso and to protect settlers from hostile Indians and outlaws. By the time of the Civil War, Sabinal was on the mail route and wagon trail from San Antonio to Mexico.
Pioneer merchant Louis M. Peters built a successful general store.
The railroad arrived in Sabinal .With the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1881,the rest of the community was moved to its present site.Angora goats imported from Turkey were brought into the Sabinal area .
Sabinal had an estimated population of 150, a public school, two churches and a hotel; local ranchers were shipping wool, livestock and hides.
Two hotels, the Mitchell house and Sabinal Hotel were serving a growing number of visitors to the city. Corn, cotton, oats and sugar cane were cultivated on farms around the community, many of which utilized the “air-motor, water, well, windmill” available at John T. Wilson’s lumberyard to irrigate their crops.
As per the Uvalde School Records, by this time there were 156 students in 3 schools in Sabinal.
Sabinal’s population was about 500 and was surrounded by 1,500 acres of cultivated land. W.D.Heard served as a mayor of the town. Telephone Company was granted a franchise, the city water and the fire departments were organized.
Sabinal Christian college was founded by members of the Church of Christ.
Sabinal was a commercial and agricultural center; an estimated 35,000 acres was under cultivation in the area, and as many as five general stores supplied an estimated population of 2,500. The cotton industry was burgeoning and local stock raisers were producing thousands of hogs cattle and goats.
Sabinal had a population of 2,000 who supported Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, a high school and a grade school, an ice plant, two banks, three cotton gins and a weekly newspaper called “The Sentinel”, started by publisher Harold Baldwin in the year 1890.
A new high school was constructed near the center of town ,when Sabinal had an estimated population of 1,458.
Ranchers in the Sabinal area principally raised cattle, sheep, and goats; they produced thousands of pounds of wool and mohair annually. Area farmers raised oats, corn, sorghum grains and cotton.
Sabinal City Hall was built.