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History of 
Christoval

Frontiersmen began to immigrate into the south Concho Valley in the 1870s, located along the "Toe Nail" trail from Fort McKavett to Fort Concho. By the mid-1880s the settlement began to develop. 

 

Christopher C. Doty (1857-1944), who had arrived in Texas in 1879, opened a store and applied for a post office in 1888, after rejection of application for "Alice", due to another office of that name, Doty suggested "Christobal" (Spanish for Christopher). Confirmation of establishment of the office and Doty's appointment as postmaster arrived in Jan, 1889, but the spelling of the name had been changed to Christoval.

The South Concho Baptist congregation was organized in 1889 with four charter members. The Rev. T. R. Leggett served as first pastor, and the congregation met in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church- built by a group of citizens and used as a Union Church. 

The 1920's were an exciting time for Christoval!  As an early wellness and spiritual retreat, the families of wealthy ranchers, those thirsty for spiritual and cultural renewal, along with cowboys and their herds came to Christoval in droves.  Spurring the first art colony in Texas and attracting 100’s of artists painting scenes beside the beautiful South Concho River.  Another claim to fame for Christoval is the Baptist Encampment that attracted thousands every summer.  They came to worship and cool off in the spring waters flowing North into San Angelo.

After WWII the population dropped to just 400 and by 1973 it had declined to just over 200, remaining there through the 1980s. In 1987 highway 277 was rerouted, bypassing Christoval.  It was thought by some that the community was finished, but both business and population have continued to increase.  Christoval proper had a population of 500 at last census.  The water and abundance of trees has attracted people looking to get out of San Angelo and live a more tranquil life.

Christoval Dam

The South Concho Irrigation Co. was established in 1885.  They built a dam and 3 miles of canals to furnish water to dry farmland.

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Christoval Baptist Encampment

In 1911, the first annual summer Christoval Baptist encampment was held on the banks of the South Concho River.  This annual event, held into the 1930s, attracted about 10,000 people for years. Mineral waters helped keep attendance up and most of them arrived on the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railroad.

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The Bath House

A bath house, built in 1915 at nearby Mineral Wells, was the first of several local health facilities.   The Christoval Mineral Wells bathhouse, later called Percifull Chiropractic Sanitarium, offered sulphur water from about 1920 until the 1980s.

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The Railroad

Arrival of the Panhandle & Santa Fe Railroad, in 1930, made Christoval a shipping point for area sheep, wool, and cattle industries.

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The Flood

On September 17, 1936, a devastating flood hit the South Concho River. The flood destroyed the Baptist encampment facility, and parts of Christoval. Several people were killed in the flood, as they were swept away by the rapidly rising water. Following the flood, the encampment facilities were never rebuilt, and the property eventually became a public park.

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Playland Park

Playland Park was a popular local attraction from the 1950s through the 1980s. The park offered public access to the river, as well as boat rentals, a rope bridge, tree swings, and a concession stand. At its peak in the 1970s, the facility had amusement park rides and a small train. The facility was closed in the 1980s due to liability concerns and smaller crowds

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