Salado is a town in Bell County, Texas, United States. Salado was first incorporated in 1867 for the sole purpose of building a bridge across Salado Creek. In 2000, the citizens of Salado voted in favor of reincorporation, before which it was a census-designated place. The population of the village was 2,126 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area. Archaeological evidence of a paleolithic Native American settlement dating back about 15,500 years, the Buttermilk Creek Complex, has been unearthed in Salado. The first record of white settlers in the area occurred in 1834, but by 1836, the pioneer settlers abandoned the area due to frequent Indian attacks and the invasion by General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army. The first permanent Anglo-American settler at Salado was Archibald Willingham in 1850. In 1852, the Salado Post Office was established. In 1859, the Salado College Joint Stock Company was created by Col. Elijah Sterling Clack Robertson, who donated 320 acres north and south of the springs to be broken into lots and form the village of Salado, with the proceeds of the sale going to form Salado College. The college operated from 1860-1885 and 1895-1913; the former college building was occupied by the Thomas Arnold High School. From 1866 to 1885, the famous Chisholm Trail cattle drives passed through this area, with the Stagecoach Inn being one of the stops. In 1867, Salado incorporated to build a bridge across Salado Creek. By 1884, Salado had a population of 900, seven churches, 14 stores, two hotels, two blacksmiths, and three cotton gins. However, after the railroads bypassed Salado to the north and south, trade moved away from the town and the population began to dwindle, hitting 400 by 1914 and down to 200 by 1950. Nineteen Salado locations are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including the George Washington Baines House.