General Facts About The Area
The Village of Salado was founded at the Old Military Road crossing of Salado Creek on October 8, 1859, coincident with the founding of Salado College. Many of the leaders of Bell County had felt the need for the establishment of a fine school and very quickly Salado became a viable settlement.
It developed both as an industrial and agricultural center with a gristmill within the town limits and 7 other mills within 9 miles on Salado Creek. The first Grange in Texas was organized here in 1873, and Salado ranked second in size and importance in the County until the early 1880s. Salado College attracted residents of education and refinement and gave prestige to the village. It operated until 1885 with only the tuition of the students for support. From 1890 to 1913, a fine private school, Thomas Arnold High School, occupied the old stone college building.
In 1884, Salado boasted of 7 churches, 14 stores, 2 hotels, 2 blacksmiths, and 3 cotton gins. After the railroads were built to the north and east of Salado, the newly created towns drew most of the trade from here and Salado steadily declined. The population dwindled from 900 in 1882 to 400 by 1914 and only slightly over 200 in 1950. Since that time, Salado has grown slowly and is recognized as a very pleasant place to live and work. Eighteen of the old buildings here are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Salado has 23 Texas Historical Markers. The churches and organizations are carrying on the proud tradition of the Salado Masonic Lodge, which provided 2 Grand Masters for the Texas Lodge in the late 1800s. Salado is honored to have had a Rhodes Scholar among the graduates of Thomas Arnold School.
The Chisholm Trail came right up Main Street, and the stage lines that served Central Texas included Salado among their stops. A wire cable suspension bridge, the first bridge built in the county, was built here in 1869 and stood until the great flood of 1900. Salado Creek has always been a mighty force in the history of this area and it was designated the first recorded Natural Landmark in Texas in 1966.
The revitalization of Salado began in the 1940s as the fame of the dining room of Stagecoach Inn spread. It continued with the founding of the Central Texas Area Museum in 1959 and the construction of the first new residential area, Mill Creek, in 1960. The many shops catering to visitors have led to the popularity of Salado. Today Salado has approximately 130 businesses of many kinds, adding to the charm of this small village.
To learn more about Salado’s history, ask for the Driving Tape Tour prepared by the Bell County Historical Commission. It is available at the Civic Center and Salado Galleries.
To learn more about what Salado has to offer its residents, visit the Salado website by clicking here.
Points of Interest
Salado Christmas Stroll – Salado’s historic downtown becomes frosted in the white lights of the holiday as strolling carolers and traditional musicians complement the annual Christmas Stroll Dec. 2-4 and 9-11. The shops, galleries, and restaurants throw open their doors to offer an alternative to the bland cookie-cutter approach to Christmas found in the malls, big-box retail outlets, and Walmart. In the sparkle of thousands of white lights, the lyrics of a Christmas carol drifting from a nearby courtyard, strollers will feel as if they have been let in on a great secret. Along with after-hours shopping, there is a new attraction called the “Christmas in the Park” display. “Christmas In The Park,” tells the famous story of “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” with a distinctly Salado flare, in lighted vignettes around the circle drive in Pace Park. The display may be driven or walked through. Tablerock Amphitheater will present its unique version of “A Christmas Carol” on both weekends of the Stroll. The annual Historical Society Tour will feature many beautiful homes and historic sites Dec. 2-4. There will be live seasonal music at various spots around town with strolling carolers, choirs and other musical acts. The First Baptist Church will feature a “live nativity” on the first weekend of The Stroll. The live nativity will Dec. 2-3 in front of the Church on Main St.
Salado’s Christmas in October – The historic village of Salado, Texas begins Christmas a little early each year with the annual Christmas in October at the Salado Civic Center on Main Street. The event is free to the public and will feature a Salado Merchants’ Christmas Market on the grounds of the Salado Civic Center. Early shoppers can find gifts, clothes, and decorations from an array of Salado merchants. The Merchants’ Christmas Market will be opened to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th. Ladies will model fashions and styles from the many Salado dress shops throughout the day in casual style shows. There will also be live music for your enjoyment. A collection of vintage cars will be spread out under the giant oaks of the Salado Civic Center for admirers to view during the event. Come early to find the best-baked goods for Christmas giving and parties, homemade by the famous Ladies of Salado.
Home of the ‘Heart of Texas Green’ – Mill Creek Golf Club, located at 1610 Club Circle in Salado, features three nine-hole courses designed by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. The courses weave and flow around Salado Creek amidst towering Oak and Elm trees. The stimulating beauty of the environment and the classic test of the golf course combine to provide one of the finest golf experiences in Texas. Inside, find a casual yet elegant atmosphere, complimented with full conference and meeting facilities, a 20 plus lodging facility, & full-service pro shop and grill. So whether you come with a single golfing partner for one round, or bring your company for a conference retreat, you will enjoy a traditional golf experience in a tranquil setting. For more information on The Mill Creek Golf Club, call 254-947-5698.
Salado’s Historic Stagecoach Inn – The Stagecoach Inn was founded in 1861 as the Shady Villa. The Van Bibber’s purchased it in 1941 beginning the heritage of the Stagecoach Inn and famous dining room, located at 401 S. Stagecoach Rd. Our menu is still given verbally and the hush puppies and strawberry kiss’ are world-renowned and prepared fresh daily. Within minutes of recreation, golf, and historic Salado sites, you’ll find activities to satisfy everyone’s interest. Shopping is nearby too. Check out a few of our packages, including a Stay and Play packages that include golf at the 27 hole Mill Creek Golf Club & Inn. 82 rooms are available for lodging in this historically acclaimed bed and breakfast style hotel. For more information on The Stagecoach Inn, call 254-947-5111.
The Silver Spur Theatre – Salado’s Silver Spur Theatre, located at 108 Royal Street, is a picture show, vaudeville stage, & live music show providing good ol’ fashioned family entertainment in the heart of historic Salado. The Silver Spur also features an outdoor amphitheater, adding a unique flair to its already intriguing ambiance. During the holiday season, the Silver Spur will present “Do You Hear What I Hear? “, a riotous production for the whole family. There will be live music, skits and a classic Christmas movie shown nightly. For exact times and ticket information call 254-947-3456.