Santa Anna is at the intersection of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, U.S. highways 283, 67, and 84, and Farm Road 1176 eight miles southeast of Coleman in southeast central Coleman County. The town was named for the twin mountains located just north of the community, which were in turn named for Santa Anna, a Comanche chief. The peaks served as a landmark to early surveyors and settlers. Camp Colorado, occupied by the United States Army from 1857 to 1861, was ten miles north of the site. Texas Rangers were also stationed in the vicinity and used the peaks as an observation post. Duke Jackson brought cattle into the area and built the first cabin at the site in 1860. Originally the community was named Gap for the pass that cut through the mountains. By the late 1870s several small stores had opened up by the gap, in 1879 the Santa Anna post office opened. A year later the first school was built. With the construction of the Santa Fe Railroad through the town in 1886 and the sale of a 200-acre tract of railroad land for town lots, Santa Anna began to grow rapidly. The stores located in the gap moved to the railroad tracks as new merchants arrived. Con Rowland began publishing the Santa Anna News in the early 1880s. L. V. Stockard, the first railroad agent, built a two-story rock store, and residents used the upper floor as an assembly hall and theater. Church groups of several denominations held services in the schoolhouse. Santa Anna developed as a cattle shipping point and as the chief marketing town for the eastern part of the county. By 1884 the town had two general stores, a drugstore, and a blacksmith shop. Among prominent early residents was John Riley Banister, a Texas Ranger and county sheriff, and his wife, Emma Banister, who became the first woman sheriff in Texas after her husband's death. Santa Anna was hit by a tornado in 1893 that destroyed five houses.
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Santa Anna by the Numbers
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|1,051||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,099||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,081||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,249||1990||Texas Demographic Center|