The First Baptist
Church of Bandera is across from the Frontier Times Museum.
Entrance to the Frontier Times Museum
reflects the theme of Bandera as the "Cowboy Capital of the World".
Bandera is the county seat of Bandera County, Texas, United States,in the Texas Hill Country, which is part of the Edwards Plateau. The population was 957 at the 2000 census, and according to a 2009 estimate, the population had jumped up to 1,216 people. It is part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Bandera calls itself the "Cowboy Capital of the World." The Frontier Times Museum, founded by J. Marvin Hunter and named for Hunter's Frontier Times magazine, is located in Bandera across from the First Baptist Church. Bandera also has a large presence in biker culture.
A visitor to Bandera can see a sign on Main Street, in front of the Fire Department, which states that Bandera was founded by Roman Catholic immigrants from Poland. St. Stanislaus Catholic Church was built by those immigrants, and the church is one of the oldest in Texas. Many of the residents are descended from those original Polish immigrants.
There are many stories regarding the origin of the name "Bandera". One says that back in the 19th century, a flag was placed at the top of a path that came to be called "Bandera Pass" due to "bandera" being the Spanish word for "flag".
Bandera is located at 29°44′N 99°4′W / 29.733°N 99.067°W (29.7258, -99.0750). This is 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Downtown San Antonio, on the Medina River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city comprises a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 957 people, 408 households, and 239 families residing in the city. The population density was 820.2 inhabitants per square mile (316.7 /km2). There were 488 housing units at an average density of 418.2 per square mile (161.5 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.98% White, 0.21% African American, 0.52% Native American, 2.51% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.84% of the population.
There were 408 households out of which 24.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 25.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 83.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,089, and the median income for a family was $36,500. Males had a median income of $27,604 versus $17,813 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,502. About 11.0% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.
Bandera is served by the Bandera Independent School District and home to the Bandera High School Bulldogs.
- Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie visited the town while taping their reality television program, The Simple Life 2. They worked at the Bandera County Jail.
- The city is home of Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar, a famous Hill Country Honky-Tonk and was included in the 1975 film Race with the Devil.
- On Sunday mornings, Bandera is a popular destination for motorcyclists from San Antonio, known as the Bandera Breakfast Run.
- Willie Nelson has an instrumental called "Bandera" on his Red Headed Stranger record.
- Bandera was once home to Texas music legend Robert Earl Keen.
- Bandera is the hometown of singer-songwriter brothers Bruce and Charlie Robison.
- The rugged Hill Country State Natural Area is the location of the Bandera 100K trail run and the Catus Rose 100 mile endurance run, two of the toughest ultramarathons in Texas. Both are hosted annually by race director and veteran trail runner Joe Prusaitis.
- The Mayan Dude Ranch and the Dixie Dude Ranch are both over 50 years old and are located in Bandera.
- Rudy Robbins (born 1933), a Western actor, stuntman, singer, and songwriter, has lived in Bandera for nearly five decades.