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Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Hondo


Photo by TXDOT

“GOD’S COUNTRY”

Spanish explorers, a gang of brothers, and the world’s largest air navigation school all are part of Hondo’s heritage. So are the “Welcome” signs at either end of town along Highway 90, which state, “This is God’s Country, Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell.” There’s plenty of shopping for antiques, collectibles and specialty items in downtown Hondo, and you can catch a first-run movie at the restored, 1940s-era Raye Theater. Spend time at the Medina County Museum complex, which covers a city block. The main building is the restored, 1893 Southern Pacific Hondo Depot, which displays pioneer artifacts. The grounds also showcase a one-room schoolhouse, a buggy and farm equipment shed, and a Southern Pacific caboose. Hondo hosts special events and festivals throughout the year, including the Cowboy Country Roundup in February, the Medina County Fair in September, and Christmas in God’s Country Market Days and Night Parade in November.


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Hondo was established in 1881 by the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway and named for El Arroyo Hondo, which translates as “Deep Creek.” In 1891, Hondo replaced Castroville as the Medina County seat, and two years later an impressive courthouse built of rusticated yellow limestone opened on the town square. Hondo made headlines in January, 1921, when the “Newton Boys,” outlaw brothers, hit two banks the same night and made off with more than $30,000. In 1942 the Hondo Air Base opened four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The base was built in only 90 days, and trained more than 14,000 navigators before it closed in 1945, then trained more pilots during the Korean Conflict. Now owned by the City of Hondo, the site is home to the South Texas Regional Training Center and South Texas Regional Airport.