The railroad reached the area in the 1880s, and Mexican cowboys who brought cattle herds to the railhead called the site el campo, the camp. When the cowboys bedded down, they could see the lights of a little village called Prairie Switch. They said it looked like a "pearl on the prairie." When El Campo was incorporated in 1905, the city fathers used the Spanish words to name the city. Now, it is a center for agriculture (largest rice-producing county in the state), oil, gas and manufacturing.
El Campo is known for its great waterfowl hunting and excellent fishing. The city has a variety of restaurants and is famous for its barbecue.
More than 20 historical murals painted on buildings can be found throughout the town.
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