Reagan County, located in West Texas at the northwestern edge of the Edwards Plateau on Highway 67 and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, is surrounded on the west by Upton County, on the north by Glasscock County, on the east by Sterling County, Tom Green County, and Irion County, and on the south by Crockett County. Big Lake, the county seat, is seventy miles southwest of San Angelo.
Cities, Towns & Communities
Best | Big Lake – county seat | Isaac | Reaganview | Stiles | Texon
Reagan County was carved from Tom Green County in 1903 and named for Senator John H. Reagan, the first chairman of the Railroad Commission. Stiles became the first county seat. After constructing two temporary frame courthouses, county officials built a striking two-story white stone building in 1911. A wooden school building was constructed adjacent to the courthouse. At one time the Stiles school employed a faculty of six certified teachers for an estimated enrollment of seventy-five students. The original school was replaced by a brick building in 1926, but enrollment dropped to eight in 1930, and the Stiles school closed in 1947. Early in the twentieth century post offices opened at two other small communities in Reagan County. Reaganview, fifteen miles northeast of Stiles, operated a post office from 1905 through 1910 and a one-teacher school from 1902 to 1915. The second community, Isaac, maintained a post office from 1907 through 1909. In 1905 the P. H. Coates family settled in southern Reagan County on the west side of Big Lake. The T. H. Taylor family took up residence on land on the east side of the pond. In 1911 Taylor sold 320 acres of land to the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient of Texas Railway for a station and townsite, which was named for the local landmark and promoted by the railroad. The railroad chose a route through Big Lake rather than Stiles, because a large landowner near Stiles failed to grant a right-of-way. A post office, public school, newspaper office, and various stores were established by 1912. In 1913 a Methodist church was formed, and in 1915 a Baptist church was organized with fifteen members. A red brick ten-grade school opened, and the Big Lake Hotel was completed in 1915. In 1910 the county population numbered 392. In 1925, by which time the population had reached 100 and Big Lake appeared to be the most important town in the county, voters moved the seat of government there from Stiles. Read More Reagan County History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>
Until 1903 Reagan was a part of Tom Green County, joined to the present county by the narrow Panhandle land lying between Irion and Sterling counties. The present county was organized in that year and named for Judge John H. Reagan. The county is a portion of the plains of West Texas, has no running streams, very sparse native timber, and has apparently ample water supply obtained at a distance of from fifteen to two hundred feet underground. Situated about a hundred miles from the nearest railroad, the county has until recently been within the open range district, and the statistics of the livestock industry covered the only important phase of economic development. Continue Reading Reagan County History Written in 1922 >>
The Reagan County Story by J. L. Werst, Jr., ed., Big Lake, Texas: Reagan County Historical Survey Committee, 1974.