You can almost imagine the pickups parked in front of this building; men with dusty boots and sweat-banded hats loading bags of feed. Inside you’d find a large floor scale on a worn wooden floor, a simple counter with a big cash register, and neatly arranged stacks of livestock feed, crop seed, and fertilizer. The warehouse was redolent of hay, feed, and dust. The ones I visited in my youth also sold chicken coops, fencing, watering troughs, and other farm & ranch implements. And before Easter you could buy baby chicks and rabbits. Stores like this used to be a fixture in every rural town in Texas. Now, for the most part, they’ve been replaced by big-box retailers.
Named for either Mount Vernon in Virginia or Vernon Brown – a traveling whiskey salesman – Vernon, Texas was established in the early 1980s. The Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad reached Vernon in 1885 and settlers poured in. By 1892 it had 3,500 residents, who were served by a street railway, a fire department, electric lighting, three newspapers, two flour mills, and two ice factories. By 1900 more than eight church denominations had been organized there. The St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway joined the Fort Worth and Denver at Vernon about 1901. Vernon is the county seat of Wilbarger County and a regional center for agricultural products and oil.
REFERENCES: Charles G. Davis, “VERNON, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hev01), accessed June 27, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.