San Angelo was established across the river from historic Fort Concho, an outpost established in 1867 that served as headquarters for the 4th and 10th Cavalry and 16th Infantry. The fort was home to cavalry, infantry, and the famous Black Cavalry, also known as Buffalo Soldiers by Indigenous Americans.
The settlement across the river was originally named “Santa Angela” in honor of Carolina Angela de la Garza DeWitt, the deceased wife of the city’s founder Bart J. DeWitt, a merchant and businessman. The name was later changed to San Angelo.
After being designated as the Tom Green County seat, the town grew quickly in the 1880s, aided by being on the route of newly constructed railroads. It became a central transportation hub for the region. The Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1888 and the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway in 1909.
In 1928, the city founded San Angelo College, one of the region’s first institutes of higher education. San Angelo College, one of the first municipal colleges, has grown to become Angelo State University. The military returned to San Angelo during World War II with the founding of Goodfellow Air Force Base, which was assigned to train pilots at the time.
The discovery of oil and gas, the influx of light manufacturing, the initial development of a communications center, the establishment and growth of Angelo State University, and the growth of the medical community provided diversification to a growing community. Today, this city of 100,000 is the trade and services hub of a 13-county area, supported by agriculture, manufacturing, education, business and health services, military, tourism and retirement.