The tiny city of Sanderson (population less than 1,000) has more cacti than people. In 1999, at the urging of local legislator Stillman Dudley and Economic Development Coordinator Terry Toler, the Texas Legislature designated Sanderson the “Cactus Capital of Texas.”
An annual Prickly Pear Pachanga (celebrating the prickly pear cactus) has been held in Sanderson since 1998. The Sanderson Chamber of Commerce sells a “Cactus Capital of Texas Cactus Poster.”
Wikipedia: Sanderson, Texas
Sanderson is a census-designated place (CDP) in Terrell County, Texas, United States. The population was 861 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Terrell County. Sanderson was created in 1882 as a part of neighboring Pecos County. It became the seat of Terrell County in 1905.
Originally named “Strowbridge”, Sanderson was renamed in honor of an engineer of the former Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railroad, since incorporated into the Southern Pacific.
The railroad depot at Sanderson is vacant, and the community has thus far been unable to raise the funds to restore it for public access.
Official Capital Designations - Texas State Library
Cactus Capital of Texas Sanderson
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1, 76th Legislature, Regular Session (1999)
Marfa, TX - Obituaries
Stillman Dudley Harrison of Sanderson passed away on Saturday, November 25, 2006, at his home in Sanderson after a lengthy and courageous battle against cancer.
Dudley was born on Sept. 4, 1929, in San Antonio to Wilma and John Harrison, Terrell County pioneer ranchers. Dudley, a lifelong resident of Terrell County, and his wife, Doris Lee Cooke of Sanderson, have continued the ranching tradition for more than a half of a century.
Dudley’s legislative experience and his love of Terrell County led him to the position of County Judge of Terrell County in 1992 through 2002. During his tenure, he was instrumental in a number of significant projects including the sewer system and sanitation facility, upgraded airport facility, household waste disposal system, a major regional workshop on nature tourism and the recognition of Sanderson as the Cactus Capital of Texas. The Big Bend Open Road Race that is still enjoyed by many was a vision that became reality shared by Dudley and his son-in-law, Bill Golden.
Sanderson is the Cactus Capital of Texas, Eastgate to the Big Bend Wilderness Area and home to most Terrell County residents. On Historic Highway 90, about midway between San Antonio and El Paso, its geographic location and altitude of about 3,000 feet give Sanderson a climate unparalleled in the Southwest. The legacy of a rich and colorful past endures in the surviving architectural heritage of adobe and stucco buildings; the century-old depot; railroad buildings and cattle pens.
Prickly Pear Pachanga
The 11th Annual Prickley Pear Pachanga will be held October 11, 2008, the Saturday night of Columbus Day weekend. Pachanga is a Spanish idiom for “big party.” The Prickly Pear Pachanga is a local celebration of fall, of the beginning of hunting seasons, and of our most bountiful asset, the prickly pear cactus.
Festival organizers (Sanderson Arts & Education Alliance) hopes to return the event to its roots, the celebration and education of our natural desert heritage.
The main event is the Prickly Pear Gala, a dinner traditionally including appetizers, Texas wines, a gourmet meal, a selection of deserts, and good conversation. Proceeds from the Silent Auction supplement the costs of bringing cultural entertainment and educational events to the Community throughout the year.
Sanderson Chamber of Commerce
The new 2008 Cactus Capital of Texas Cactus Poster is now available for purchase for $20.00 plus shipping and handling. Call the Chamber at 432-345-2509 to get details on obtaining a copy for you.
Pecos (TX) Enterprise
The Sanderson Times
SANDERSON, Nov. 13, 1997 - Terrell County Commissioners Court met Monday, Nov. 10, with County Judge Dudley Harrison presiding over a lengthy agenda. Terry Toler, Economic Development Coordinator, gave a report on a seminar he recently attended and showed the court prototype T-shirts and posters promoting Sanderson as the “Cactus Capital of Texas” that he had made while a the seminar.
24 January 1999, Dallas (TX) Morning News:
Sanderson is now the “Cactus Capital of Texas,” thanks to a local economic development director who 16 months ago left a position in media relations at ...
10 August 2002, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “Texas Towns with Little to Lure Tourists Find New Designation Helps” by Sean Wood:
Sanderson is the Cactus Capital of Texas. “We’re off out here in the desert and there’s an awful lot of cacti,” said County Judge Dudley Harrison.
Austin (TX) Chronicle (March 21, 2003)
BY GERALD E. MCLEOD
Known as the “Cactus Capital of Texas” and the “Eastern Gateway to the Big Bend,” Sanderson has become a watering hole for modern iron horses. McSparran estimates about one-third of the visitors to Big Bend National Park travel U.S. Hwy. 90 through this town. Local businesses are trying to find ways—in addition to the four motels, two gas stations, and the four to six restaurants operating at any given time—to get travelers to stop in town.
Terrell Country News Leader (June 13, 2008)
‘Cactus Capital’ posters bought
SANDERSON – Terrell County Commissioners voted Monday to purchase 5,000 posters showing indigenous cactus flowers and touting Sanderson as the “Cactus Capital of Texas.”
Rick Vanderpool of State Art/US of Commerce, offered to do the posters for $8,900 and they could then be sold in the Visitor Center, the museum, banks and retail outlets.
The Chamber of Commerce last month recommended the purchase after the commissioners asked for its input.
Vanderpool has done posters for various organizations and sells them for $19.95.
The county could offer posters for sale at the Visitor Center and could provide them at a discount to the Chamber, motels, restaurants and anyone else as a fundraiser.
Smith said Vanderpool “didn’t want us to sell them for $10” as Smith had proposed earlier because that would undercut his sales of similar posters.
The chamber said it preferred a horizontal format with fewer pictures than some of the samples.
It also preferred pictures of more than one size instead of all the same size as on some of the samples.
Dorothy Marquart told the chamber last month that she had been working with Vanderpool on the project for more than three years.