Altair is an unincorporated community in Colorado County, Texas, United States. It is located at the four-way stop sign junction of U.S. Route 90 Alternate and State Highway 71. The community had an estimated population of 30 in 2000.
Altair is located at (29.5713505, -96.4541355). It is situated along U.S. Highway 90A in south central Colorado County, approximately nine miles south of Columbus and 28 miles north of El Campo.
Beyond the Altair sign on US 90A is the Highway 71 junction and the rice mill. The view is east.
The rice mill is a prominent landmark in Altair.
Rice CISD Junior High School is located on US 90A between Altair and Rock Island.
The community dates from the late 1880s. Located on the R.E. and John Stafford ranch property, the community developed into a cattle loading station that was initially called Stafford's Ranch. A post office at Stafford's Ranch was established on October 4, 1888 with John Stafford as postmaster. To avoid postal confusion with the nearby town of Stafford in Fort Bend County, the post office name was changed to Altair on September 19, 1890. That same year, a town site was laid out and a branch of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad arrived.By 1897, Altair had a population of approximately 100 with two stores, a gin, lumberyard, blacksmith shop, and hotel. A school house was also constructed in 1897 and a telephone line was laid from Columbus to Altair.
The community's relatively close proximity to the larger city of Columbus played a role in keeping Altair small. The population peaked at around 200 in 1960 and had fallen to 80 by the mid-1970s. By the 1990s, there were a few businesses in Altair, including a rice-drying facility. The number of inhabitants had fallen to 30 in 2000.
Although it is unincorporated, Altair has a post office, with the ZIP code of 77412.
Public education in the community of Altair is provided by the Rice Consolidated Independent School District. The district, which serves southern Colorado County, is headquartered in Altair.