Indio, initially known as East Side, was near Tortuga Creek several miles east of the Nueces River and eight miles east of Crystal City in south central Zavala County. The site was chosen by promoters E. J. Buckingham and Carl Groos and financier Mr. Lewis as one of the headquarters for the colonization of the Cross S Ranch around 1908; the development was called East Side because of its location in the ranch. By 1910 the promoters had drilled a well, built a substantial hotel, and cleared large sections of land. A post office using the name Indio was established in 1912; a Mr. Holtewanger was postmaster. About this time a schoolhouse was constructed; Lilian Blackaller was the first teacher. Methodist and lay services were held in the schoolhouse, which also served as the community center. After the school closed around 1920, children in the area were bused to schools in Crystal City on a flatbed truck with homemade benches. A revitalization effort, which included renovation and enlargement of the hotel in the late 1920s, failed to invigorate the community. One business operated in the community in 1931. A severe flood in the area in 1935 sent most of the residents to a small hill near the post office; most later moved to Crystal City, and the post office closed in 1936. By 1950 the community had generally been abandoned, and the hotel had been converted to a ranchhouse, but Indio continued to be a voting precinct for some thirty-five or forty voters.
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