Texas Hill Country Trail Region

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


The International-Great Northern Railroad laid lines to a landmark water well in 1882. There the company platted a town named for Thomas W. Pearsall, railroad vice president. The new railroad town drew businesses and homes away from Frio City, the seat of Frio County. Within two years, Pearsall was the new county seat, and Frio City became known as Frio Town (now a ghost town). The 1904 courthouse on the square in Pearsall retains several Romanesque details after undergoing remodels in 1937 and 1950. The oldest building in Pearsall, the county jail built in 1884, remained in use until the 1960s. This historic two-story rock building now houses the Frio Pioneer Jail Museum. Downstairs, the five room sheriff’s residence contains artifacts and historic photos. Some relics, such as a 1910 opera house playbill and a 1914 dance card, recall social occasions. Other artifacts, including a “pear burner” used during drought to singe needles off prickly pear cacti, symbolize tough times. Upstairs are four jail cells for men and two for women, one of which stored illegal liquor during Prohibition. The museum hosts an annual Pioneer Day at the old jail and the relocated Frio Town school.