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Alto, Texas
Location of Alto, Texas
Location of Alto, Texas
Cherokee County Alto.svg
Country United States
State Texas
County Cherokee
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Total 1.71 sq mi (4.42 km2)
 • Land 1.71 sq mi (4.42 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
436 ft (133 m)
 • Total 1,225
 • Estimate 
 • Density 727.27/sq mi (280.83/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 936
FIPS code 48-02188
GNIS feature ID 1372283

Alto is a town in Cherokee County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,240 at the 2019 census.

Alto is the closest municipality to the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, an archaeological site dating back to 800 CE, featuring a prehistoric village and ceremonial center.


An early settler in the region was Martin Lacy, who built Lacy's Fort just to the west to the current site of Alto in around 1838. In 1838 and 1839, during the campaign to suppress the Córdova Rebellion, the fort served as an operations and supply base for the Third Militia brigade commanded by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk.

The town of Alto was laid out in 1849 and named for the Spanish word meaning "high," on account of the site's elevation on a drainage divide between the Neches and Angelina Rivers.


Alto is located at 31°39′0″N 95°4′26″W / 31.65000°N 95.07389°W / 31.65000; -95.07389 (31.650131, -95.073810).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), all land. Alto had a prisoner of war camp during World War II, which served the Cherokee County area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 61
1880 88 44.3%
1890 210 138.6%
1910 672
1920 1,081 60.9%
1930 1,053 −2.6%
1940 1,141 8.4%
1950 1,021 −10.5%
1960 869 −14.9%
1970 1,045 20.3%
1980 1,203 15.1%
1990 1,027 −14.6%
2000 1,190 15.9%
2010 1,225 2.9%
2019 (est.) 1,240 1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,190 people, 452 households, and 282 families residing in the town. The population density was 707.1 people per square mile (273.5/km2). There were 534 housing units at an average density of 317.3 per square mile (122.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 65.55% White, 24.79% African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 6.81% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.25% of the population.

There were 452 households, out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.6% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 22.5% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 22.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $19,438, and the median income for a family was $24,167. Males had a median income of $22,955 versus $16,875 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,648. About 28.3% of families and 33.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.3% of those under age 18 and 29.1% of those age 65 or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Alto has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Public schools are managed by the Alto Independent School District. These are Alto High School, Alto Middle School, and Alto Elementary School.

Notable people

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