SAN ANGELO, Texas — Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. San Angelo itself is an ode to Hispanic history through how our city got its name.

The history of San Angelo began in the late 1860s across the North Concho River from Fort Concho, which had been established in 1867. Being an early frontier town at the time San Angelo had not yet received its name and started out characterized by saloons, prostitution, and gambling.

Soon after Fort Concho was established Bartholomew (Bart) J. DeWitt, the founder of San Angelo, bought 320 acres of land from Granville Sherwood for a dollar an acre and, over the river, established a trading post, which was later called Santa Angela according to the Texas State Historical Association.

Santa Angela did not remain the name of the town for very long and there are several stories on how the name became San Angelo. The most notable of those stories is that the town was named after DeWitts deceased wife’s favorite patron Saint, Santa Angela according to the San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Organization.

Conflicting information from Discover San Angelo suggests the city was originally named Santa Angela in honor of Carolina Angela de la Garza DeWitt, the wife of the city’s founder and not just her favorite Patron Saint.

The name had changed to San Angela by 1883 when an application was made for a post office. The proposed name of San Angela was rejected because of the ungrammatical construction. The name should be Santa Angela or San Angelo. The latter was chosen. 

Despite conflicting stories, both women are represented at the San Angelo Visitors Center.

CC San Angelo Visitors Center

Towards the back of the Visitors Center, you will find two tall bronze statues sculpted by John Noelke to celebrate the strength of Texas women. The younger figure represents the deceased wife of San Angelo’s founder, Bart Dewitt, who named the town in her honor. The taller figure holding the book represents a 16th-century saint who founded the Ursuline Order of Catholic nuns, Santa Angelo who is said to be Dewitts wife’s favorite saint.