Vanishing Texas Vernacular Architecture


Greenwood is on Farm Road 1204 fourteen miles northeast of Decatur in Wise County.  It was established when two cowboys camped in the area in the 1870s.  The two men, named Hart and Greenwood, decided to begin a new settlement, and so they gave their names to the area.  The creek, which was near their campsite, became Hart’s Creek, and the town became Greenwood.  Tenvill Cecil built the first cabin, and Wag Wilson built Rock Ranch, a stone house used as a fort in the constant battles between settlers and Indians.  The post office was established in 1877.  In 1884 Greenwood had a population of seventy-five, a steam gristmill, and a cotton gin.  The town served as a post for shipping cotton.  In 1892, when the population was 200, Greenwood built the Greenwood Male and Female Normal College, which lasted until 1908, when the building burned down.  From 1895 to 1920 the Campbell Hotel flourished in Greenwood, as the town became a major trade center for area farmers.  In 1886 a weekly newspaper, the Greenwood Enterprise, began documenting local and state events, and Greenwood had two dry-goods stores, two drugstores, and a blacksmith.  By 1914 Greenwood had a telephone company, a bank, four grocers, three general stores, and two drugstores.  But a series of devastating fires did irreversible damage.  The population fell to 100 by 1925 but then rose again in the 1930s to 314.  During the Great Depression the WPA built a stone school building.  In 1937 the high school was consolidated with that in Slidell.  After World War II small farms disappeared as farming procedures became more mechanized.  In 1962 the Greenwood elementary school was consolidated with the Slidell school.  In 1949 Greenwood had a population of 200.  In 1953 another terrible fire wiped out half of Main Street, and it was not rebuilt.  In the 1970s the economy was dependent on the dairy and beef industry.  In 1972 Greenwood had Baptist, Church of Christ, and Methodist churches, a post office, a fire station, and a Masonic lodge.  The buildings from the old businesses were used to store hay.  From 1974 through 2000 the population was reported as seventy-six.  In 2003 the town had a combined grocery and gas station.

REFERENCES:  Robin Dutton, “GREENWOOD, TX (WISE COUNTY),” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed August 25, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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