Vanishing Texas Vernacular Architecture


Myra Store

Myra is twelve miles west of Gainesville in western Cooke County. It was founded in 1887, when the Gainesville, Henrietta and Western Railway constructed a line from Gainesville westward to Henrietta, and was named after the daughter of the railroad superintendent of  construction.  In 1900 the Sears and Bradford Company, which owned land in the area, decided to build a separate town on the south side of the railroad tracks.  George W. Aldridge, the real estate agent for Sears and Bradford, sold town lots and recorded the name of the town as Aldridge in the county deed records.  However, the post office department refused to change the name from Myra, and Aldridge was eliminated as a separate town.  Eventually, the communities became the town of Myra.  In 1898 one of the first oil wells in Cooke County was drilled at the townsite. Interest in Myra grew, and lots sold for as much as $500.  The well was abandoned in 1901, however, when oil and gas production proved unprofitable.  Myra nevertheless continued to grow during the following years.  In 1902 Thad Harrison began a water system and Jack Felty a telephone system.  The latter became the Myra Telephone Company in 1906.  A bank was begun by H. C. Bluhme several years before the First Guaranty State Bank was started in 1910 by T. P. Rosson.  An electric plant was built in 1919 by George Thomas.  James Harrison purchased the plant in 1920 and maintained it until 1927, when Texas Power and Light extended service to Myra. Dr. C. L. Maxwell opened a drugstore in 1903, and in 1914 he established Mercy Hospital.  A decline in population and an exodus of businesses to more profitable towns started when U.S. Highway 82 bypassed Myra in the early 1930s.  In 1964–65 the Myra Independent School closed, and in 1967 the school district was divided among Muenster, Era, and Lindsay.  In 1988 Myra had a population of seventy and six businesses.  It also had a volunteer fire department, a Masonic lodge, and two churches.  In 1980 Myra began an annual spring barbecue dinner for the public as a fund-raiser to benefit the Myra Volunteer Fire Department.  In 1990 the population was still seventy. The population grew to 300 by 2000.

REFERENCES:  Robert Wayne McDaniel, “MYRA, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online ( /handbook/online/articles/hnm77), accessed March 14, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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