UVALDE, TEXAS: HILL COUNTRY CROSSROADS
Dividing lines of both natural and man-made design seem to converge in Uvalde, Texas, the county seat of the county of the same name, located on the southwestern edge of the Texas Hill Country. US Highway 83 runs north to the Canadian border, and south to Mexico, and US Highway 90 traces an east-to-west route from Florida to the Rio Grande. Both roads intersect in Uvalde, literally at a crossroads that links it to the rest of the country. Naturally speaking, you’ve got the lush Hill Country to the northeast, and semi-arid desert land to the west of town. This creates a community of diversity on many levels.
The town’s history speaks to that diversity, with Native American, Spanish, English, and German settlers and explorers contributing to its formation over several centuries. Almost all of its citizens over time used the location as a strategic post; for example, its Native American residents used the hills on the Leona River as a lookout point, and the US government established Fort Inge there in 1849 to safeguard pioneers traveling through the area, as well as a observation post looking toward the Mexican border. Lawmen of the Wild West were stationed in Uvalde on the Nueces Strip, where they sought to capture outlaws headed toward the relative safety of Mexico.
Uvalde is certainly a unique name, and there’s a good reason for that; it’s technically a typo! Rancher and pioneer Reading Wood Black founded the town in 1853, calling it Encina, which is Spanish for the live oak trees that grew abundantly in the region. In 1856, when the county was organized, both it and the community were then named Uvalde, with the town as the county seat. The name was meant as an homage to Spanish governor Juan de Ugalde, but for reasons unknown a different spelling was used; it may have been something as simple as a clerical error.
The majority of Uvalde’s early history was based on ranching and agriculture; it was a rest-and-recreation point for cowboys preparing to take the cattle trails north to Kansas and beyond. The trees for which the town was originally named contributed not only to the economy, but to building many of the original structures in Uvalde; even today, the community’s nickname is the “City of Trees.” The region was also known for the wool from the herds of Angola goats that grazed on the nearby hills. Another less formal nickname for Uvalde is the “Honey Capital of Texas;” the region has been well-known for the light-colored huajillo honey made by the busy hives around Uvalde since the 1870s.
While founded in 1853, and the home to a post office since 1857, Uvalde wasn’t incorporated as a town officially until 1888. An influential role in that occurrence was the establishment of Uvalde as a shipping point on the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio railway line. The railroads were the lifeline of landlocked locations in the United States at the time, and this all-important development opened the town up to increased commerce and growth. To this day, Uvalde’s economy is still significantly agricultural, with ranching and vegetable farming still playing important local roles. With roughly 2,000 people at the turn of the 20th century, Uvalde has steadily grown to its current population of around 15,000.
Uvalde has left its mark on the national stage in a variety of ways, too! For example, it’s the birthplace of former US Vice President John Nance Garner (for whom nearby Garner State Park is named), Roy Rogers’ wife and cowgirl icon Dale Evans, astronaut Pete Conrad, and Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey. Not bad for a little Hill Country town!
Sample the best of Texas culture, and the natural beauty of the Hill Country, with a visit to Uvalde! In order to help our guests plan their visits to this exciting region, we’ve gathered a comprehensive listing of all the attractions, shops, restaurants, and parks in Uvalde. All it takes is a quick scroll to the bottom of this page for links that are handily arranged by category. For an even more in-depth look into Uvalde and several other fascinating towns in the Hill Country, download and browse our Texas Hill Country Travel App. Right at your fingertips, you’ll have access to our vacation home listings in the region, maps, booking assistance, and special check-in access only available in the app. There are also timely updates on special events occurring all throughout the area!
For our friends who love to look to the skies, we’d like to remind you that Uvalde and the surrounding Hill Country will be among the best viewing sites for two upcoming solar eclipses! On Saturday, October 14, 2023, there will be an annular “ring of fire” eclipse, and a full solar eclipse will take place on Monday, April 8, 2024. These will be popular events, and people will flood into the Hill Country to rent vacation homes, find RV spots for eclipse viewing, and camp in tents. Our app will provide information on these events, including eclipse preparedness, viewing tips, special event vacation rental booking, and more!
From intimate and private romantic escapes to large family gatherings, Backroads Reservations has the perfect vacation rental for you! We’ve helped our treasured guests put together dream getaways since 2001, building a solid reputation as the most knowledgeable professionals in Hill Country property management. We’re proud to live in the Hill Country and call it our home base. Contact us today and tap into our expertise!