Unique Texas town names: How did Uvalde get its name?

Town had different name prior to Uvalde

UVALDE, Texas – For a town that was once a dusty outpost and a target for frequent Indian raids, Uvalde has built quite a resume.

The town, located 85 miles west of San Antonio, has been home to an impressive list of celebrities and politicians.

But how did Uvalde get its name?

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The town was originally called Encina for the oak trees in the area. But not for long.

"When they were going to incorporate the county in 1856, there was a law in the books that said the county seat and the county have to have the same name," said Susan Anderson, director of planning and development for the city of Uvalde.

Since Encina was located in what is now named Uvalde County, the city name had to be changed, as per Spanish rule of Texas.

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"In 1790, Juan de Ugalde was the Spanish governor of Coahuila, and this part of Texas was part of Coahuila," Anderson said.

Since Ugalde was a well-known figure and the namesake of Coahuilla, the town and county was named after him.

So how did the switch from g to v in Ugalde come about?

"(I) don't know how we switched a g to a v, but that's what it was," Anderson said.

From there, despite Indian raids and a few years of lawlessness, Uvalde began to thrive.

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It's home to one of Texas's first opera houses and was once considered the honey capital of the world.

"And that came from the 1900 World Fair. Our honey was entered and was judged the best honey in the world," Anderson said.

Uvalde is also home to several well-known figures, including Gov. Dolph Briscoe, Vice President John Nance Garner, actors Matthew McConaughey and Dana Andrews, Grammy-winning Tejano band Los Palominos, light middleweight boxing champion Oscar Albarado and NFL star Vann McElroy, who won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders.

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"And then we had Dale Evans, who was the queen of the cowgirls," Anderson said.

Evans was the third wife of the very popular singing cowboy, Roy Rodgers.

About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.