Sutherland Springs Texas History:
In 1851, Dr. John Sutherland established a stage stop and post office in his home. Sutherland Springs grew up on the west bank of Cibolo Creek on land Dr. Sutherland surveyed in 1854. In 1860, the town was designated the provisional county seat of the newly formed Wilson County; after the Civil War, Floresville was elected county seat. The town’s economy was based on farming, the cattle industry, the wagon trade along the Goliad Trace and Chihuahua Road, and tourists who were attracted to the nearby sulphur springs. In 1877, the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built the Sunshine Depot on the east bank of Cibolo Creek on its newly built line between San Antonio and the Texas Gulf Coast. In 1910, the Sutherland Springs Development Corporation surveyed the land around the depot and established New Sutherland Springs; most businesses in the old town on the west bank of Cibolo Creek moved to the new townsite. Tourists from all over the national and overseas lodged at the fifty-two room Hotel Sutherland in order to partake of the sulphur springs healing waters. An October 1923 flood destroyed the bathing pools and pavilions; even though they were rebuilt, tourism never recovered. The hotel closed in 1923. Prior to 1940, the completion of U.S. 87 on the west side of Cibolo Creek caused businesses to move back to the west side of the creek. By 1940, New Sutherland was basically deserted. One of the few buildings still standing is Whitehall, the 1850s mansion of Joseph Henry Polley, a Stephen F. Austin colonist. Sutherland Springs is located at the intersection of U.S. 87 and FM 539, 48 miles southwest of Gonzales, 24 miles southwest of Seguin, 7 miles northwest of Stockdale, 14 miles northwest of Kosciusko, 19 miles north of Poth, 13 miles northeast of Floresville, 25 miles east of Elmendorf, 7.5 miles southeast of La Vernia, and 31 miles southeast of San Antonio, Texas.
Historic Sutherland Springs, Texas Historical Marker Text:
"(Sutherland Springs was an) outstanding early-day Southwest Texas health spa. Had 27 flavors of mineral water, from over 100 hot and cold springs. (Indians used curative waters here before white settlement.) Resort was founded in 1848 by Dr. John Sutherland (1792-1867), who had been at the Alamo when Santa Anna came on Feb. 23, 1836, but was sent out by Travis to summon aid. Sutherland built plantation home on bluff west of the Cibolo, across from wooded valley of springs. Patients boarded in his home, homes of neighbors, or rented cottages at the springs. Most common mineral waters were white sulphur, black sulphur, and hume sour. Hot springs were especially popular in treating rheumatic diseases. Sutherland Springs was stagecoach stop on Old San Antonio Road. In 1854 Dr. Sutherland had a British teacher lay off square and town as seen today. In 1860, when Wilson County was created, this was county seat. Reconstruction Judge Wm. Longsworth demanded $250 to keep county seat here, and failing to get it hauled court records to Lodi, later to Floresville. In 1909, "New Sutherland Springs", on lowland acres formerly held by Gideon Lee, had a 52-room hotel, the largest concrete pool in south, church encampments. Floods in 1913 made that resort a ghost town." The marker is located in front of the community building on the town square.
Historic Polley Cemetery, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Joseph Henry (1795-1867) was born in Whitehall, New York to Jonathan and Rachel Hubbard Polly he later moved to Missouri. Where he was a friend of Moses Austin, with whom he traveled to Texas in 1820. the next year, he returned to Texas with Stephen F. Austin as one of the original "old 300" colonists Polley settled in the Brazoria district and wed Mary Augusta Bailey, daughter of pioneer Brit Bailey the couple built a home that they named Whitehall Polley served as sheriff and assisted retreating settlers during the Runaway Scrape, 1836, many helped mold candles for use by the Texas congress. Polley moved his family in 1847 to this area then a part of Guadalupe County. The family established a cemetery as site in 1843, when Emeline Elizabeth Polley James, one of the eleven Polley children, died while giving birth. Two years later, her daughter of the same name was interred next to her. The family completed the Whitehall home about 1850. Over the years, several family members, including Joseph Henry Polley, were laid to rest in the cemetery. Mary Bailey Polley (d.1888). The family matriarch was the last to be buried here.”
Historic Whitehall, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“(The mansion was) built by Joseph Polley (1795-1869), one of "Old 300" settlers of Stephen F. Austin, and the first Austin colony sheriff. From Fort Bend and Austin counties, he at last settled here, where he had cattle herds called largest in Texas. In 1847-51 he built this stone mansion, with framing of Bandera Cypress, and cabinet work shipped by sea from New York. This was area social center. From here house guest Robert E. Lee wrote his last Texas letter.” The marker is located three miles north of town on U.S. 87.
Sutherland Springs Historical Museum:
The museum is located in the renovated Walker building. It features exhibits depicting the history of Sutherland Springs including old photos. (830) 947-4053. Current Contacts
Amenities include a ball field, campsites, washer pits, a 4,000 square foot wood dance floor, a full kitchen, walk-in coolers, an ice machine, a bar area, an outdoor pavilion, large barbeque pits with gas burners, and large stainless steel picnic tables. The hall hosts live music concerts and dancing. It is available private party rentals. (830) 745-2836. The hall is located at 2975 FM 541 East. Email Kosciusko Map Kosciusko Area Map
Annual Jamaica Fest, Last Saturday in April:
Activities at this Sutherland Springs community Association sponsored event include a 5K run, free live entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts, live music, a dance, games and prizes, and children’s activities. Open noon to 10pm in the Sutherland Springs Community Building at 4th
Streets. (830) 534-8563.
Annual Sutherland Springs VFD Smoke Eaters BBQ Cook-Off & Rodeo, May:
Activities at this two day event include an IBCA sanctioned BBQ cook-off, a ranch rodeo, arts and crafts, food booths, live music and children’s activities. Barbeque categories include beans, salsa, chili, dessert and kid’s pork chops. An admission fee applies; proceeds benefit the fire department. (210) 844-4994. This event is held at the 7S Arena at 7560 FM539 in Sutherland Springs. Email
Annual Cruise along the Corridor, 1st Saturday in May:
On this day antique car clubs tour South Texas. They arrive at the Southerland Springs Historical Museum by 9am where club members have refreshments and tour the museum. (830) 947-4053. Current Contacts
Annual Old Town Day Celebration, Last Saturday in Oct:
Activities i at this Sutherland Springs community Association sponsored event include a parade, live music, a raffle and silent auction, a baked goods contest, games, a BBQ chicken and sausage plate dinners, arts and crafts, food vendors and children’s activities. This event opens at 11am in the Sutherland Springs Community Building at 411 14th
Street. (830) 534-8563.
Cibolo Creek rises at Turkey Knob, ten miles north of Boerne in southwestern Kendall County, and flows southeast for almost a 100 miles, forming the Bexar-Comal and the Bexar-Guadalupe County lines. The creek is a tributary of the San Antonio River. It crosses Wilson County to its mouth on the San Antonio River 5 miles north of Karnes City in Karnes County. Communities located along the creek include Boerne, Bulverde, Bracken, Selma, Universal City, Cibolo, La Vernia, Panna Maria, and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Victor Braunig Lake & Park (formerly East Lake), 1350 Acres, Elmendorf, TX:
This reservoir is located on Calaveras and Chupaderas Creeks just east of IH-35 near Elmendorf, 15 miles south of downtown San Antonio on. The reservoir was formed in 1962 by the construction of a dam to provide a cooling pond for a power plant supplying power to San Antonio. The lake has 1,350 surface acres and a maximum depth of 50 feet. Together with nearby Calaveras Lake, Braunig Lake was one of the first projects in the nation to use treated wastewater for power plant cooling. Lake recreation includes boating and fishing. The lake has been stocked with red drum, hybrid striped bass, catfish and largemouth bass, and is popular for its trophy size bass. Amenities include boat ramps, lighted fishing piers, a fish cleaning station, boat rentals, tent campsites, RV sites, sheltered picnic tables, a playground and restrooms. A 75 person capacity picnic pavilion with electricity and restrooms is available for rent. Open daily, 6am-8pm for day users. (210) 635-8291. The park is located at 17500 Donop Road, SA, 78223. From IH-37 south; take Exit 130 (Donop Road) and follow the signs. Email Fish Stocking History Lake Records Current Fishing Report
Calaveras Lake & Park, 3,624 Acres, Elmendorf, TX:
The lake was impounded in 1969 and has a maximum depth of 45 feet. The park serves both Calaveras Lake and Braunig Lake near Elmendorf. Amenities include a nature trail, campsites, RV sites, shaded picnic tables, a fishing pier and boat ramp, playgrounds, paddleboat rentals, restrooms and parking. Activities include birding, fishing, camping, picnicking, boating and water sports. Fish species include blue and channel catfish, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass and red fish (red drum. Spring wildflowers are stunning! Park fees apply. Open daily, 6am-8pm for day users. (210) 635-8359. The park is located at 12991 Bernhardt Road. The lake is located 20 miles southeast of downtown San Antonio. From Loop 410, proceed southeast on U.S. Highway 181 south, then turn left on Loop 1604 and proceed for two miles; turn left on Stuart Road and proceed for 1/2 mile to the park entrance. Email Fish Stocking History Lake Records Current Fishing Report TPWD Public Access Facilities Map
Topcat Canyon Lake Fishing Guide Service:
Offers guided fishing trips on Lake Dunlap, Lake McQueeney, Lake Placid, Choke Canyon, Pecos River, Lake Braunig, Lake Calaveras, Granger Lake, the Highland Lakes and Canyon Lake (bass). (512) 663-7166. Email
Bret Fisher Fishing on Braunig & Calaveras Lakes:
Offers guided fishing trips on Braunig & Calaveras Lakes near San Antonio, Choke Canyon, Falcon Lake, Canyon Lake and Coleto Creek Lake. (210) 394-3925.
Rancho De Las Cabras, San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, Floresville, TX:
In the mid-1700s, the Mission San Francisco de la Espada, a San Antonio Missions National Historical Park mission, established the Rancho de las Cabras (Goat Ranch) on the San Antonio River for use as grazing land for cattle. Indian vaqueros (cowboys) lived on the Rancho with their families and tended the cattle. Once a week, several cattle were herded to the Mission Espada to feed the Priests and Indians. The original Rancho site included a chapel and fortifications which are now in ruins. Eventually, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department purchased the Rancho Cabras ruins and the 99.5 acres of remaining land. In 1995, the TPWD transferred the land to the National Park Service to be managed by the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio. Future plans for the Rancho de Las Cabras include building a visitors’ center and a parking lot. Tours
of the Rancho de Las Cabras are held on the first Saturday of each month, weather permitting. Call (210) 932-1001 for tour information.From Floresville take SH 97 approximately 2 miles south to marker and the historic site. Floresville Texas Map; Click to Enlarge Floresville Texas Area Map
Learn to Camp at Texas Parks & Wildlife State Parks' Outdoor Family Camping Workshops:
Theseworkshops are family camping sessions designed to teach camping skills to those who do not know how to camp; everything is provided from tent to broom. Gear includes a coffee pot, dishes, cooking pots, a camp stove, a battery operated fan and lantern, air mattresses, and a tent. Basic skills taught include pitching a tent, making a campfire, cooking on a propane camp stove, geocaching and using a GPS. Wildlife viewing, fishing and kayaking are available depending on the park and its facilities. After making reservations, families will be sent a packet of information which includes a grocery list. Those interested in this program may sign up for E-Mail Updates
on Currently Scheduled Workshops. (512) 389-8903. Calendar
Hunt Texas Online Connection:
More than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, making it hard for hunters to find affordable hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a huge public hunting program, and has developed a new service to help hunters find hunting places. This new service is provided free by the TPWD. It allows landowners to list available hunting leases or spots that have opened up, and allows hunters to find private hunting leases according to their preferences.
Hunting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, General Hunting Information
Hunting, Public Hunting on State Lands, TPWD
Hunting Season by Animal
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Donations