County Seat: Eldorado * County Population: 2,779
The Schleicher County Courthouse was designed by Henry T. Phelps in a stately Classical Revival Style and was completed in 1924.
The county, originally part of the Bexar land district, was created in 1887. Organization was stalled due to minimal population; consequently, the county was attached to Kinney and Menard counties for judicial purposes. The county was officially organized in 1901 with Eldorado as its county seat.
Schleicher honors Gustav Schleicher, a German colonist, military commander, legislator and lawyer, while Eldorado, the only town in the county, was named by land promoters.
The county seat includes several attractions that highlight the area’s rich history and natural beauty:
Tom Ratliff Civic Theater
The Lone Star Theater was built in 1930 by Mr. and Mrs. T.K. Jones shortly after the Whitten oil well made history. The discovery of the oil well triggered growth in the area prompting construction of several other Main Street buildings.
The theater was eventually purchased by Tom Ratliff to house his insurance business. Ratliff modernized the building front and left the auditorium for storage.
Ratliff’s wife eventually gave the building to “The Way Off Broadway Players” with the stipulation that the building would be called the Tom Ratliff Civic Theater in memory of her husband. The theater was then renovated, and the community continues to support the establishment and its players.
Eldorado’s first jail was built in 1906 from local limestone rocks found five or six miles from Eldorado. The Second Empire structure was home to many sheriffs and deputies who lived in the jail during their term of office. In fact, Duge McDonald was born in the jail when her father, “Pomp” McDonald, was deputy sheriff! Orval Edmiston and his family lived in the jail for 24 years during his stint as Schleicher County sheriff. The building still houses its original hanging gallows, although no one was ever hanged.
The Old Jail currently contains the offices for the Schleicher County Appraisal District.
Eldorado is located in the heart of the premier wool and mohair producing area for the state. The Eldorado Woolen Mill, founded Nov. 3, 1939, was the first woolen mill ever built in Texas. The mill’s purpose was to process Texas wool thereby creating a finished product that represented Texas heritage and style.
X Bar Ranch
The X Bar Ranch encompasses 7,100 privately owned acres of diverse terrain including beautiful sunsets, scenic vistas and gentle rolling hills, not to mention comfortable and uniquely decorated cabins, a lodge and a guest house, offering restful seclusion or relaxation mixed with recreation.
(Texas Almanac 2006-2007)