Paint Rock      Concho County      

Origin of Station Name

Named for town, which was county seat.

Agency Opened


1886 Personnel


1890 Insured Structures


1921 Depot(s)

Depot 20’ by 85’, wood frame, wood shingle roof, no bay window.   This depot was not built to Santa Fe standards, because it was constructed by the original promoters before the Santa Fe purchased this line. Promoter’s construction cost was $2540.51.

Other facilities at this station included a manually operated 54 foot turntable for reversing the direction of locomotives, a 75’ by 300’ railroad stock yard, and a 24’ by 124’ cotton loading platform.

1946 Traffic Report

Station abandoned.

“The Earth” Press Coverage

No coverage

Employee Magazine Coverage

No coverage

Junction Other Lines

None, this was terminus of a branch line.

Agency Closed


Photographic Images

Depot. This image moved through the U.S. Mail as a postcard on June 23, 1910.

Operating Bulletins


Railroad Commission Complaints

07-29-1911      Downgrade to alternate day service

05-29-1915      Facilities inadequate

03-13-1918      Schedule for passenger train

12-27-1921      Petition for telegraph service

10-18-1923      Request for telegraph service

08-14-1928      Mail service inadequate

10-02-1928      Missed connection at Miles last                                     19 days out of 30.   Mail delayed.

See index to Commission complaints for citations.

Legal Department Files

Two files on reduction of service in 1930s, content summarized below.


Paint Rock was at the end of a 16.49 mile branch which connected with the Santa Fe tracks at Miles.   There were intermediate non-agency stations with sidings along the line at Lowake, where the company maintained a cotton loading platform, and Sims Valley, where it maintained a livestock pen and loading chute.

Construction of this line was instigated by the “Paint Rock Citizens Railway Committee”, which contracted with Kansas City promoter R. A. Love to build the line.   The group raised a cash bonus of $50,000, which was paid to Love on completion of construction.   The corporate charter was dated March 26, 1909.   The organizing parties and subscribers to the stock were Love, T. C. Wynn of San Angelo, Charles Culwell and J. H. Herndon of Miles, and E. E. Sims (also described as D.E. Sims, unknown which is correct), T. K. Wilson, W.A. Norman, L. Roach, J. W. Norman and J. E. Konze of Paint Rock.   Speaking to a reporter for the San Angelo newspaper in October 1909, Love stated that the company’s objective was to build south from Paint Rock to San Antonio.   The company charter filed with the State of Texas under the name of the Concho, San Saba & Llano Valley Railroad set forth a route which would connect with the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway in Kerr or Kendall County, having a total length not to exceed 165 miles.  

Track laying commenced on August 12, 1909.    The total cost of building to Miles was $100,652.81, which included the purchase of two steam locomotives and one passenger car.   Seven bridges were constructed, the largest being 449 feet long to span the Concho river.   This bridge would later prove to be the Achilles heel of the line.   The line was laid with 50 pound rail.   The depot at Paint Rock was completed on Christmas eve, and regular operation began December 27, 1909.

The Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Ry. had reached San Angelo earlier that year, and ignited a speculative fever of real estate and business development.   San Angelo was no longer to be the “end of the line”, as had been the case for the last 20 years.   KCM&O promoter Arthur Stilwell was projecting extension of his rails westward to the Pacific Coast at Topolobampo, Mexico.   As soon as he started construction, Love apparently pitched the sale of his small branch line to both the Orient and the Santa Fe, speaking elliptically to the San Angelo newspaper about these negotiations throughout the fall of 1909.   Love touted his line as a logical extension of the Orient, perhaps to goad the Santa Fe into action.   Santa Fe president Ripley took the bait and told his people to purchase the line confidentially; this was accomplished before it was even placed in operation.   The Santa Fe would maintain the corporate structure of the C.S.S.&L.V. Railroad, running its trains daily each way from Paint Rock to Miles, thence to San Angelo on the Santa Fe tracks and from there northward to Sterling City, on another branch constructed at about the same time.

The Paint Rock branch came to life purely on the initiative and financing of local residents, and served such a sparsely populated territory that its operation did not prove profitable for long.   In 1933 the Santa Fe petitioned the Railroad Commission for permission to reduce its service from daily except Sunday to tri-weekly.   In its hearing exhibits the railroad listed local businesses at Paint Rock to be 1 bank, 3 grocery stores, 1 drygoods store, 2 lumberyards, 1 hardware store, 1 feed store, 2 auto agencies, 1 drug store, and 2 oil agencies.   It was estimated that the population within a three mile radius of the station was 600 people.   At that time, the only paved road to Paint Rock was Highway 4 to Ballinger.

Service to Paint Rock ended suddenly when the Concho River flooded in September 1936, destroying the railroad’s bridge.   Oldtimers reported that the river had not seen such a rise since the 1880s.   Traffic levels on the branch were so low that the cost to rebuild the bridge could not be justified, and the Santa Fe petitioned the ICC for authority to abandon the line from Miles to Paint Rock.   In the meantime, trains continued to run triweekly to the Sims Valley station, which was the last stop before the river.   The application for abandonment was protested.   Testimony developed at the hearing showed that the principal traffic on the line was livestock destined for Fort Worth, comprised of 68 carloads in 1935 and 35 carloads in 1936 prior to the flood.   Abandonment was authorized, and the last train ran to Sims Valley on April 14, 1937.   Engineers on this run were W. M. McClatchey and Gleeson Perry, conductor was Jack Lester and brakemen were A. L. Hughes and W. C. McCulloch.

A visitor to Paint Rock today finds one of the most lonesome courthouses in the state – the courthouse square has structures along only two sides and the general appearance is very much one of an “old west” outpost at the edge of the frontier.   The panorama is so striking that it seems as if it were arranged as part of a Hollywood movie set.   The Santa Fe has left no trace here, but others have left their mark more prominently.   Bill Sims, retired state senator and former head of the Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers Association, came from Paint Rock.