Julia Cauble Smith

SHUMLA, TEXAS. Shumla is on U.S. Highway 90 near the Southern Pacific line in southern Val Verde County between the Pecos River and the Rio Grande where the two rivers bend to within a mile of each other. It was established in 1882 as a section station on the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway and was named for a Turkish fort that was surrounded by hills much like those found near it. Prehistoric people had lived in the canyons around its site as long as 6,000 years ago, leaving their art and discarded belongings on the walls and floors of caves and rockshelters. At a site east of Shumla the railroad tracks from the east and the tracks from the west were ceremoniously connected by a gold spike on January 12, 1883. In 1892 the tracks were rebuilt after the railroad company determined that twenty-five miles of the Pecos Loop tracks were originally constructed on soft limestone, which required constant patrol of the tracks to prevent loss of equipment and lives. After the tracks were straightened, the Shumla community was no longer on the railroad route. From 1906 through 1909 a post office operated at Shumla, and a freight station named Shumla continued to function on the railroad into the 1930s; it had been reduced to a flag stop by 1973. By the 1980s only the ruins of an old store, service station, and motel were found at the site.

Virginia Madison and Hallie Stillwell, How Come It's Called That? Place Names in the Big Bend Country (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1958).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Julia Cauble Smith, "SHUMLA, TX," accessed March 26, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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