The last two weeks have been spent in and around San Angelo State Park. We have been very surprised at the city of San Angelo. It is a city of over 100,000 people and the San Angelo College is here, which is part of the Texas Tech system. San Angelo is home to a very active and robust sheep and wool market. There are fiberglass painted sheep throughout the city. The city is full of history and teaming with new ventures.
The Concho River runs through San Angelo. In the river, there are oysters from which they harvest Concho pearls. These pearls are not white but shades of pink to purple. Because of the pearl harvesting restrictions, there are only 7 people with licenses in the state and only 5 of them do any harvesting, they are expensive.
The city has a beautiful walking trail along the river. There are several parks along the trail and the visitors center sits overlooking the river. It is worth your time to stop at the visitor center, beautiful. San Angelo is home to the Catholic Diocese in San Angelo which serves much of the west Texas area including Odessa and Midland, and there are several beautiful churches in the city.
Fort Concho, a major frontier post during the Indian wars, was located here, which is the primary reason for the founding of the city. Goodfellow Air Force Base is also located here and contributes to the stability and growth of the city.
Visit Eggemeyer General Store when you are in San Angelo. It has some nice cookware and dishes. There are enough gadgets and cookbooks to keep you looking for a long time. And then you get to the rest of store, which has toys, books, games, home furnishings, clothing, food items, college logoed stuff, and so much more. We spent over an hour in the store and didn’t see everything. If we lived in the area, this would be one of the places I would shop regularly.
San Angelo State Park is home to the Texas Longhorn herd and has bison on the park. We saw the bison at a distance but the Longhorns were near the road waiting for you to take their pictures. The park surrounds the O.C. Fischer lake, which is low now, but still attracts lots of different wildlife.
There was a bird building a nest in the cover over our picnic table. While we were there, a storm came up and blew the nest away. The next day the bird and her mate were busy building a new nest in almost the same spot. The second nest was constructed much better than the first.
We drove over to Menard where we visited the Presidio at the San Saba. This is a historic site of a Spanish fort that was built about 1757 to protect a mission, this was well before Texas became an independent nation. The San Saba River runs nearby and provided water for the fort. In one of the stones that was used to support the entrance gates, people have carved their names. One of the names carved is “Bouie”, which is the Spanish spelling for Bowie. It is believed that Jim Bowie visited the fort.
Another day we went to Paint Rock, Bronte, and Robert Lee, which are northwest of San Angelo. Paint Rock is the county seat of Concho County, but all the county courts are handled by the Tom Green County which is in San Angelo. It seems odd having a county seat and no county court. Paint Rock is a small community with some very nice homes that were built when the county court was in Paint Rock. Paint Rock gets its name from a rock on private property where Indians would come and leave painted hand prints. You must contact the owner to arrange a tour.
Bronte is west of Paint Rock and is another small community, but has a really great restaurant, Addona’s, on the main street. If you are in this area, we recommend that you put it on your places to dine.