Former Alba Ranch receives ‘undertold’ marker from Texas Historical Commission


One of the stone houses built by Victoriano Alba and his sons in the early 1900s on their ranch outside Dripping Springs. (Photo courtesy Gina Rogers)

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — The land where one of the earliest established Hispanic families homesteaded outside Dripping Springs was recently given a historic designation by the Texas Historical Commission.

The former Alba Ranch, six miles northwest of Drippings Springs near the intersection of McGregor Lane and Fitzhugh Road, was a 160-acre piece of property owned by Victoriano Alba. He bought the land in 1903, and he and his family owned the land for more than a century and were early pillars of the community.

Gina Rogers, a descendant of Alba, helped put together the case for the ranch to earn an “undertold” historical marker from the commission. The ranch was one of 15 places in Texas to be designated as undertold, meaning its story “addressed a historical gap” and represented an aspect of Texas history not well-documented.

Victoriano Alba and his wife Loreta Tijerina. The photo was taken before 1897, the year she died at age 45. (Photo courtesy of Gina Rogers)

“One of the most visible programs of the THC, historical markers commemorate diverse topics from the history and architecture of houses, commercial and public buildings, religious congregations, and events that changed the course of local and state history, to individuals who have made lasting contributions to Texas,” the commission’s website says about the program.

In the application, Rogers details the Alba family’s history on the land. Alba bought the land with a $50 down payment and assumed a five-year promissory note of $425 from the previous owner, and owned the title outright three years later.

“Being a landowner elevated his status,” Rogers said in the application, “and it was the key to a better future for his family.”

One of the stone houses built by Victoriano Alba and his sons in the early 1900s on their ranch outside Dripping Springs. (Photo courtesy of Gina Rogers)

“Victoriano overcame adversity, heartache and language barriers. his pioneering spirit, work ethic, strong Catholic faith and ingrained family loyalty served as beacons that shone through his extended family as they carved a niche for themselves in the greater world,” Rogers says.

Six houses were built on the property, Rogers says, and all but one was made of stone. Three of the stone houses still stand today, and through subdivisions and ownership changes, two of the houses were restored and are now part of the wedding venue named “Stone House Ranch.” One of the homes hasn’t been restored, and the remnants of the stone walls still remain on the property.

Alba died in 1932, and the family amassed more than 1,000 acres of land and were key contributors to the early development of the Drippings Springs area, Rogers said.

This is the ledger recording the first birth at the Hays County Courthouse in San Marcos, a Mexican male family Alba relative. The ledger is located in the County Courthouse complex in San Marcos. (Photo courtesy of Gina Rogers)

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