Van Horn History


Travelers crossing the Chihuahuan Desert in Far West Texas have long been greeted by the familiar sight of Van Horn and its surrounding area. Even before the town's establishment, the Van Horn Wells were already well-known among those who frequented the region. For centuries, Native Americans were drawn to the natural springs located at the base of the Van Horn Mountains, and their presence is still evident in petroglyphs etched into nearby rock formations.

Later on, these wells came to be used by stagecoaches and mail coaches traveling the San Antonio-El Paso Mail Route and for military operations through the 1860s.

Twelve miles north, the town of Van Horn came into existence in 1881 after the completion of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, serving as a watering and shipping point. Initially, only a pump house, section house, and depot were present until the first store opened in 1885. With a humble beginning, the town grew into a thriving center thanks to its transportation links via land and rail.

Agriculture was one of the earliest industries to emerge, followed by a gradual increase in mineral exploration in the area.

As the 20th century progressed, it became a popular stop for passenger trains and later automobiles on the old Bankhead Highway, blossoming into a destination for travelers passing through.

Today, Van Horn is celebrated as "The Crossroads of the Texas Mountain Trail" and continues to serve as a convenient hub for travelers, sitting at the intersection of several modern routes, including US 90, State Highway 54, and Interstate 10. Additionally, it is home to a nearby spaceport. Van Horn's story is a testament to the power of resilience and the importance of adapting to change.