Catarina

The Abandoned Catarina Hotel, Catarina, Texas

The Abandoned Catarina Hotel, Catarina, Texas

Catarina is a small community in Dimmitt County, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

Catarina is on U.S. Highway 83 ten miles southeast of Asherton in southern Dimmit County. The name has been associated with the area since at least 1778; legend holds that it is the name of a Mexican woman killed by Indians on or near the site. The town was established after Asher Richardson, a rancher, decided to build a railway link from Artesia Wells to his planned town of Asherton. In return for an easement through the nearby Taft-Catarina Ranch (see COLEMAN-FULTON PASTURE COMPANY), Richardson agreed to allow the ranch to establish a railroad depot, with cattle-shipping pens, on his railroad. By 1910, when the Asherton and Gulf Railway began operations, these cattle pens had become the nucleus of a small community built by Joseph F. Green, the manager of the ranch. Green moved the ranch headquarters to the depot and added a bunkhouse, a commissary, a hotel, a post office, and a small schoolhouse. By 1915 the little town had twenty-five residents and had become famous in the area for the Taft House, an expensive mansion that Charles Taft, the owner of the ranch, supposedly built with oversized bathtubs to accommodate his brother, President William Howard Taft. Catarina Farms, a development project, built roads, sidewalks, and a waterworks and an impressive new hotel and installed electric power and a telephone exchange. Agent Charles Ladd imported entire orchards of fruit-laden citrus trees to impress prospective investors with the area's agricultural possibilities. By 1929 Catarina had between 1,000 and 2,500 residents, a bank, at least two groceries, a lumber company, and a bakery. Short supplies of water, marketing problems, and the Great Depression hurt the town. By 1931 the population had dropped to 592, and many of its businesses had been forced to close. In 1943 Catarina had 403 residents and seven businesses; in 1956 it had 380 residents and three businesses. By 1969 some of the town's most picturesque old buildings had been abandoned, and the population was 160. In 1990 the population was forty-five, and in 2000 it had grown to 135.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Currently Exists

Yes

Place type

Catarina is classified as a Town

Locations

  • Latitude
    28.34554750
    Longitude
    -99.61337880

Has Post Office

No

Is Incorporated

No

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Catarina by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Catarina
Pop. Year Source
107 2019 Texas Demographic Center
118 2010 Texas Demographic Center
135 2000 Texas Demographic Center