County Seat: Leakey * Population: 2,999
The Real County Courthouse was designed in a simple, pedimented Classical Revival style by A. Reuter. Fashioned of local stone, the county capitol was completed in 1917, remodeled in 1956, and expanded in the 1970s.
Real County, created from Bandera, Edwards and Kerr counties, was organized in 1913. The county name honors prominent businessman and state senator Julius Real, while the county seat of Leakey refers to John Leakey, an early settler. The town of Leakey provides several endearing examples of early Hill Country architecture including the courthouse, First State Bank building, and Leakey School.
The Real County Historical Museum in Leakey chronicles the community’s history, offering displays of authentic furnishings, tools, and personal items used by the area’s earliest farmers and ranchers.
A historical marker on Highway 336 about six miles north Leakey designates the site of the McLauren Massacres, known as the last Indian massacre in the Southwest.
The county’s most populated town, Camp Wood, sits in the Nueces River Canyon. In November 1998, Texas Highways named the area as one of the 15 most scenic spots in Texas.
The original Camp Wood was established on May 20, 1857, as a United States military outpost with the mission of protecting the San Antonio-El Paso route and the Rio Grande Valley from Indian raids. At one point, the camp was home of Lt. John Bell Hood, who later served as commander of Hood’s Texas Brigade.
Real County’s Rio Frio boasts the second-largest live oak tree in the state, after the Goose Island Oak outside of Rockport. The town’s population has never exceeded 75 people. At one time, Rio Frio was known simply as “The Ditch” after an irrigation ditch established by the Lombardy Trading Company. This same company later opened an academy for area children, which eventually became a well-respected institution.
Visitors frequent Real County for a variety of reasons including its overall natural beauty. As part of the Hill Country and the rugged Edwards Plateau, the county features spring-fed streams, the Frio and Nueces rivers, beautiful cedars, pecans, walnuts and live oaks, and scenic canyons. Elevations range from 1,500 feet to 2,400 feet.
The county is considered both a hunting center and a ranching hub. In fact, sheep and goat ranching and tourism comprise a major portion of the economy. In addition, the county is a leader among wool and mohair production.
Visitors also frequent the area for its fishing, biking, swimming, rafting and hiking. Special annual occasions include Leakey’s July Jubilee and Camp Wood’s Settlers Reunion each August.
Texas Almanac 2004-2005