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2017-01-19

Courier's History Corner - Stagecoach Stops

By Carol Wier Special to the Courier

A glimpse at some of Bandera County's history

Stagecoach stops were yesteryear's B & B's. Before the days of railroads, they were the way to travel across Texas. As small isolated hamlets spotted the countryside, stagecoaches provided early communication between townsfolk.
In the mid 1800s, not only did they take passengers back and forth, but also mail and sometimes merchandise.
In Texas, Indianola was the starting point for immigrants with travelers moving inland to Port Lavaca, Gonzales, San Antonio, New Braunsfels and even Fredericksburg.
I can still remember that scene in “The Music Man” where the Wells Fargo Wagon came into town with all the people- including a young (future director) Ron Howard, were super excited in anticipation.
Many towns grew up around the stagecoach stops such as this stop in Sabinal (formerly Hammer's Station). Thomas B. Hammer established a stagecoach stop on the Sabinal River whose remnants remain to this day.
According to the Texas Historical Association online, “a soldier by the name of Ansterman, who arrived at Hammer's Station in the late 1850s en rout from Del Rio to Castroville, recalled a community hungry for news from the outside world. He also remembered seeing long trains of freight wagons on the road by Hammer's Station carrying supplies to settlers and soldiers on the far western frontier.”
Opposite the stagecoach stop was Camp Sabinal. Home of the Second United States Cavalry. Their job was to protect the settlers and their commerce from the outlaws and indians.
In my mind, every time I pass this spot on U.S. Highway 90 just west of town I can “see” all the hustle and bustle in my “mind's eye.”
Stagecoach Inns abound in Texas, many on private property, but if you search, you will find these windows into yesteryear when Texas was a wild and unsettled place.