Sonora, the county seat of Sutton County, is on Interstate Highway 10 sixty-five miles south of San Angelo and ninety miles north of Del Rio in the north central portion of the county. About 1885 Charles G. (Charlie) Adams, a rancher and merchant from Fort McKavett, settled on four sections of land two miles north of Winkler's Well (later Wentworth). He named the site Sonora, after a family servant from Sonora, Mexico, in 1887 and drilled a well in 1889, the year the community received a post office. Adams offered free lots in his town, which in 1890 was selected as the county seat. The community comprised eighteen houses, three stores, two livery stables, two hotels, a combined schoolhouse and Masonic lodge, and fourteen tents. The weekly Devil's River News, in 1990 Sutton County's oldest continuously operating business, began publication in 1890 under the direction of Mike Murphy. By 1892 Sonora had 700 inhabitants, two saloons, a grain and flour mill, a restaurant, three physicians, and at least one church; it was connected to San Antonio by a mail stage. R. W. Callahan, who owned much of the city property, donated land for the courthouse, which was completed in 1893. Most of the area residents were ranchers. In 1900 a number of merchants led by E. F. Vander Stucken formed the First National Bank of Sonora. On September 12, 1902, a fire wiped out nearly half the town's businesses. Proprietors who could afford to rebuild did so with native stone. A new school building was completed in 1904. In the early days supplies were freighted from San Angelo and Fort McKavett by wagons, a round trip that took from six to fifteen days. In 1908 the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway was awarded a contract to lay track from San Angelo to Del Rio with a stop in Sonora. Work began in 1909, but financial problems retarded progress. Eventually, in 1928, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe acquired the Orient line and began construction on the San Angelo-to-Sonora portion of the original proposed route. On May 13, 1930, after a wait of some twenty-three years, the first train rolled into Sonora.
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.
Brian C. Hosmer | © Texas State Historical Association
Sonora at a Glance
Sonora is part of or belongs to the following places.
Adopt a Town
The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town, county, or lake of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.
Sonora is classified as a Town
Has Post Office
Photos of Sonora and surrounding areas
A glimpse of downtown Sonora, a city located in the western portions of the Texas Hill Country and the seat of Sutton County, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.
Proud to call Texas home?
Put your name on the town, county, or lake of your choice.
Search Places »
Sonora by the Numbers
This is some placeholder text that we should either remove or replace with a brief summary about this particular metric. For example, "We update population counts once per year..."
|2,502||2020||United States Census Bureau|
|3,049||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|3,027||2010||United States Census Bureau|
|2,924||2000||United States Census Bureau|
|2,751||1990||United States Census Bureau|
|3,856||1980||United States Census Bureau|
|2,149||1970||United States Census Bureau|
|2,619||1960||United States Census Bureau|
|2,633||1950||United States Census Bureau|
|2,528||1940||United States Census Bureau|
|1,942||1930||United States Census Bureau|
|1,009||1920||United States Census Bureau|