Casa Piedra

CASA PIEDRA, TEXAS . Casa Piedra is on Alamito Creek and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in southeastern Presidio County. A winding, unpaved road leads there from Plata, ten miles to the north. Casa Piedra began in 1883 when Domenicio Mata settled at the site on preemption land. In the late 1890s he built a rock house, which gave the settlement its Spanish name. By 1900 more than fifty farm families lived at Casa Piedra. The community was close-knit because many of the residents were related. Among them were the Russell and the Vásquez families. The families of Casa Piedra observed holidays with music, dancing, feasting, and horse racing. They raised large crops of cotton, corn, beans, and hay and enjoyed prosperity throughout the first three decades of the twentieth century. In 1906, through the encouragement of Lucia Hernández Russell, the community opened a one-room school. When the growing number of students warranted a larger school, a two-room building was completed. A post office was established in 1912. In 1930 the Santa Fe brought its tracks to the community, and Conrado Vásquez served as the first depot agent. The 1930s also brought an end to Casa Piedra's prosperity when drought and economic depression hit most of the nation. By 1933 the community's population had declined to ten. As late as 1939 a public school continued in the community, and the Ted Harper Ranch shipped livestock from the Casa Piedra station in the 1940s. But the post office was closed by 1953, and the Vásquez family shut down its mercantile store, the community's only business, in 1957. The community reported a population of twenty-one in 1968 and by 1988 was a ghost town.

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