Frontier Chic

Holding down the fort in San Angelo.
Range rovers: The grounds at Fort Concho.
Photograph by Suzy Banks

Name a college town with lots of public art, scenic riverside trails that run for miles, a thriving live-music scene, and bats roosting under a bridge. No, not Austin. Try San Angelo, a town I’ve dismissed all these years as a place to loop around to get to New Mexico. But once I finally shot straight to its heart, I discovered an almost urbane ticker, boasting cosmopolitan shopping, art galleries, museums, nightclubs, and a lily garden that wowed me. Not bad for a town so sin-filled in its frontier youth that officers at Fort Concho supposedly wouldn’t venture into the streets at night.

Judging from the impossible-to-miss San Angelo Visitors Center, a swoop-roofed stone structure with the grandeur of a national park lodge and a view of the Concho River, no one’s trying to keep any


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