Central Texas Hill Country

San Fernando Academy in Pontotoc

San Fernando Academy in Pontotoc by Rob Greebon

A nearly deserted town an hour north of Fredericksburg in Mason County, Pontotoc was on the brink of becoming a boom town before a series of misfortunes.

Settled in 1859, there was an established town in 1878; San Fernando Academy opened in 1882, with a peak of 200 students.

Then tragedy struck.

Almost the entire town was wiped out in 1887 by typhoid fever, prompting the city to open a second cemetery. In 1890, the academy closed, and as the population dwindled, it became a public school, which shut in 1927.

The city was dealt another blow when two proposed plans for railroads to go through town fell through. Finally, a fire that began in the theater gutted most of the buildings in 1947.

Pontotoc, which means “land of hanging grapes”, is coming back to live up to its name with a vineyard and winery. A happy ending — or new beginning — for a bit of Texas history.

Reprinted from My San Antonio | Photo by Rob Greebon