Uvalde is on U.S. highways 90 and 83, State highways 55, 117, and 140, and the Southern Pacific Railroad, eighty-three miles west of San Antonio and seventy miles east of Del Rio in south central Uvalde County. It was founded by Reading W. Black, who settled there in 1853. Black and Nathan L. Stratton operated a ranch on the road between San Antonio and Fort Duncan. By 1854 Black had opened a store, two rock quarries, and a lime kiln; he also prepared a garden and an orchard, repaired nearby roads, and built a permanent home. Black hired Wilhelm C. A. Thielepape as surveyor in May 1855 to lay out a town which he called Encina. The town plan had four central plazas which still existed in 1989. Seminole, Tonkawa, and Lipan-Apache Indian raids and temporary withdrawal of troops from nearby Fort Inge discouraged settlement during the first year. The return of troops to Fort Inge and the community's proximity to the road connecting San Antonio with the western United States eventually encouraged growth. In 1856 when the county was organized, the town was renamed Uvalde for Spanish governor Juan de Ugalde and was chosen as county seat. In 1857 a post office opened; it was still operating in 1990. The settlement centered around a mill built by Black and James Taylor in 1858. Border warfare and lawlessness prevailed until the late 1880s. In 1881 Uvalde became a shipping point on the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway. The city was incorporated on July 6, 1888. By 1890 it had a population of 2,000 and sixty businesses, including David W. Barnhill's Uvalde News. The Crystal City and Uvalde Railroad was built to Crystal City in 1911, and the Uvalde and Northern ran to Camp Wood from 1921 to 1942. By 1914 F. M. Getzendaner was publishing the Uvalde Leader-News, and the town had three banks, a library, 4,000 residents, and eighty businesses. Garner Army Air Field opened in 1941.
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