A few yards south passes Papalote Creek, crossed by the fierce Karankawa Indians who found kite-shaped pebbles and named it Papalote, which means "kite-shaped" or "wing-shaped". Along its banks came the leaders of the Power and Hewetson colonists, holding Mexican land grants in the 1830's. On its Rata tributary there is evidence the Mexican Army camped on its way to suppress the Texas Revolution.
By 1857 the town of Papalote had emerged. It was the center of entertainment for the county, boasting of a circular dance hall built by cowboys trading steer yearlings at $3 a head for lumber. There were rooster fights, ring tournaments and horse races. In 1886, when the railroad came, the town was booming.
After the turn of the century, however, Papalote began to die away. A land company sold lots to settlers from as far away as Hawaii. Expecting to grow citurs fruits, they were disillusioned when the first killing frost doomed the project. Threats of Pancho Villa's raids continued as late as 1916, when women and children hid in a brick schoolhouse.