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Alligators, grass huts and a college

LAGARTO is located in extreme southeast Live Oak County near Lake Corpus Christi. The name Lagarto, Spanish for alligator, reflects the fact that numerous alligators were once found along the nearby creek. The community was also called Roughtown but lost the name after the saloons were banned.

A Mexican pueblo existed at the site of the town in 1835 but disappeared when ranchers moved into the area. Lagarto grew from a settlement of thatched-grass huts around 1858 to a town of 500 in 1866.The first college in Live Oak County, Lagarto College, opened in 1884, and a post office was established in 1874.

The town was later (1888) bypassed by the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway and within two years Lagarto was in decline.

Germans, oranges and a rifle club

ORANGE GROVE was originally part of the Ventana Ranch owned by George and Hannah (Compton) Reynolds. In 1908 Fennell Dibrell and Max Starcke were hired by George Reynolds, Jr., and Ernest Miller to subdivide and sell 2,500 acres cut from the Ventana Ranch and from Miller’s ranch. Dibrell and Starcke platted streets, which they named for their friends. They then sold a large portion of the land to German settlers from other German Texas towns.

The developers chose the name Orange Grove for the new town, hoping to lure more settlers to the area by evoking the booming and profitable citrus industry in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The Orange Grove Rifle Club was organized in 1911 and by 1912 had its own hall. During the 1940s the Orange Grove Rifle Club Hall became the social center for the community, with the Annual May Feast and the Annual Harvest Feast held there. The predominant language in Orange Grove continued to be German.

Jersey cows, weddings and hospitality (Sandia)

Since the 1930s, KNOLLE FARM & RANCH has been the home of the world’s largest jersey cattle herd. For many years, South Texans were familiar with the Knolle Dairy Farm name and Knolle Jersey Milk Products.

This historic private ranch opened its doors to share its way of life in 1997. Spanning three counties, San Patricio, Jim Wells and Nueces, the ranch is now a classic Texas country retreat. Knolle Farm & Ranch Bed, Barn and Breakfast is an upscale country inn, working ranch and event & wedding facility. Accommodations include cottages/casitas and the Big White Barn.