The Town Of Cotulla Banks On Tourism To Reinvent Itself, Post-Fracking

The small town outside San Antonio saw hard times after a fracking bust. Now it wants to celebrate its history with LBJ and the railroad.

By Rhonda FanningFebruary 10, 2020 1:26 pm,

Around 2010, the once-sleepy ranch town of Cotulla, Texas, was ground zero for an oil boom. Traffic used to snake around the block and the 1,500 motel rooms were usually full. But these days, the town is far from bustling, since the oil boom moved west into the Permian Basin.

Now, Cotulla is looking to reinvent itself, and San Antonio Express-News reporter Randy Diamond says it plans to do so through tourism. City officials are banking on the town’s connection to President Lyndon Johnson who was a schoolteacher there before he started his political career. They also want to open a train museum since the railroad was an important connector between Cotulla and the rest of the state.

With all of its motel rooms, the town has the capacity to accommodate tourists, but some locals aren’t so sure they’ll come. On the other hand, city officials told Diamond that the town needs to reinvent itself and “look beyond oil” if it wants to survive.

“[Oil is] not a granted revenue forever,” Diamond says.


Written by Caroline Covington.