Van Horn



Van Horn...Magnificent Landscapes and awesome skies are Van Horn's greatest assets. The Town of Van Horn traces its roots to the elementary need for water in the vast desert land of the wild west of the 1800s and to two men named Van Horn. Major Jefferson Van Horne discovered the Van Horn Wells twelve miles south of our current town site in 1849. He was en route to command Fort Bliss in El Paso, a US stronghold against the žuntamed Indian savagesÓ of the west. The wells became an important stop on the Old Spanish Trail, also known as the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Route. (The first mail successfully delivered in 1857 between the two cities took nearly eight weeks to arrive!)

The second Van Horn, unrelated to the first, was Lieutenant James Judson Van Horn. He commanded the Army Garrison at the wells 1859-1861 when Confederates seized the post. Van Horn was held prisoner for a year. His impact on the area was memorialized in 1881 when the town was formedůand named for him.

The Indian Era ended that same year with the last Indian battle to be fought in the State of Texas, occurring at Victorio Canyon, 25 miles north of town. The Texas & Pacific Railroad was completed in 1881 and Van Horn became a watering hole for a constant stream of steam engines carrying freight and passengers to and from the new frontier.



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