Vanishing Texas Vernacular Architecture

Archive for November, 2011


Pavelka Grocery - Seaton, TX

As happened to so many other country grocery stores, Pavelka’s customers either moved into town or started shopping at the larger grocery store in “the city”.  This one reminds me of the store in Danciger, TX where I would buy a five-cent soda and put it on my parents tab.

Though there were a few settlers in the area before 1881, the community seems to have coalesced when several Czech families settled on the site in that year. By 1891, when the community applied for a post office, it had a store and a saloon. The name Seaton was chosen by post office officials in Washington and appears to have nothing to do with anyone living in the community. In 1896 seventeen people were living in Seaton, and there was a cotton gin in addition to the post office. In 1903 the school had fifty-five pupils and one teacher, and in 1906 a Czech Brethren Church was built in the community. The post office was closed the following year. By 1933 Seaton had a population of fifty and three businesses. The town reached its peak population around 1949, when it had eighty inhabitants, a church, five businesses, and a community park.

Seaton is at the intersection of Farm roads 53 and 2086, eight miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.

REFERENCES:  Mark Odintz, “SEATON, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (  Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Sterling City

Sterling City Hotel

As virtually the only community in sparsely populated Sterling County, Sterling City progressed in pace with the influx of settlers, particularly from Cummins, a mile east.  The townsite was donated in January 1891 by R. C. Stewart and surveyed and platted in February by H. B. Tarver.  By June a hotel and several businesses were in operation and S. R. and Frank Ezell had established the Sterling Courier.  A post office was established later that year.  The first school was built by 1892, and the first cotton gin in the county was erected in 1895.  In 1896 the community had 300 residents, eight businesses, and three churches.  The Santa Fe Railroad provided service in 1910 but was later discontinued.  Sterling City was noted for its windmills, which at one time numbered 150.  By 1914 the community had two banks, two hotels, other businesses, and a population of 900.  The town was incorporated in August 1955.  The population was 800 in 1949 and 854 in 1960, when Sterling City had six churches, a hospital, a bank, a library, and a newspaper.  The number of residents fell to 780 by 1970, then grew to 915 by 1980.  In the late 1980s the town remained the center for county ranching and derived income from county petroleum production.

References:  “STERLING CITY, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (
/articles/hls77), accessed August 26, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


Mungerville School

There’s not much evidence that the community of Mungerville ever existed.  If it weren’t for this forlorn abandoned building sitting in the middle of Northwest Texas farmland, surrounded by overgrown vegetation, Mungerville would be a distant memory.  It is known that Mungerville was an early farming community on Ranch Road 829 thirteen miles from Lamesa in west central Dawson County. In 1947 it had a school, two businesses, and a population of seventy.  This bears further investigation.

References:  “MUNGERVILLE, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 06, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


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