Catarosa and Surrounding Area HistoryThe Catarosa ranch is located just outside of the small Texas town or Catarina. Current population of Catarina is just under 200 residents, but an area with deep roots in history.
Long before Catarina got started, the Camino Real, the old Spanish road from Mexico to Louisiana, cut through the area.
The fate of one person traveling Texas' first "interstate" probably provided the area its name. According to Cole, Catarina - her last name long since lost to history - was a young Spanish woman killed by Indians in the vicinity of the future town. A stream not far from where she died became known as Catarina Creek. As the Handbook of Texas reports, historians have found the name connected to the area as far back as 1778.
The name also could have been in honor of Santa Catarina de Siena -- canonized in 1461 -- the patron saint of everything from fire prevention to temptation. Or, speculating further, the young woman killed by Indians could have been named for the popular saint.
No matter how Catarina got its name, more than 200 years later the Camino Real made a logical route for the railroad to follow when Asher Richardson bankrolled a new line connecting Carrizo Springs with the International and Great Northern Railroad at Artesia Wells. The proposed route cut through the Taft-Catarina Ranch, which gave Richardson right of way in exchange for a depot from which the ranch could ship cattle.
When the railroad began running in 1910, ranch foreman Joseph F. Green moved the pasture company's headquarters to a site near the depot and adjoining cattle pens and a small town soon developed. When the ranch management expanded into irrigated farming, a development project called Catarina Farms brought all the modern amenities, including the Catarina Hotel.
As long as the water pumped from the nearby artesian wells, Catarina thrived. But the wells played out and Catarina began to dry up, literally and figuratively. The Depression didn't make things any better. The hotel, a stopping place on U.S. Highway 83, saw its last guests in the early 1950s. By the 1990 census, Catarina had only 45 residents.
Why to Hunt the Catarosa?
- Best B&C deer county in the world
- Whitetails only
- Most productive B&C deer county in the world
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