Month: November 2012

Pringle

The elementary school building is all that remains of the small Panhandle community of Pringle that once served as a railroad supply point.  Walls were constructed of brick and structural clay tile.  The roof over the classrooms was wood-framed and the roof over the cafeteria/gym/auditorium was framed with steel trusses.  All of these materials were typical of school construction in the late-1920s and into the 1930s, so the school was built to withstand the sometimes turbulent weather of the Panhandle.  In the thirty-five years since the school closed, it has been abandoned and left to the destructive powers of weather and time.

Pringle is at the intersection of Farm Road 1598 and State Highway 136, on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad nine miles north of Stinnett in northern Hutchinson County.  It began in 1929 when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad built between Stinnett and Hitchland.  The Pringle post office opened in 1929, and a school was organized that year.  William H. Pringle, for whom the community is named, donated land for a school building.  By 1933 Pringle had three businesses and a population of twenty.  The post office closed about 1947, and the school was consolidated with the Morse schools in 1977.  The population rose to sixty in 1947, dropped to forty-six in 1968, and has been estimated at forty from 1974 to 2000.

REFERENCE:  Mark Odintz, “PRINGLE, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnp56), accessed November 23, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Granger - Redoux

While the smokestack is what initially caught my eye, I quickly focused on the rounded corners.  This Art Deco motif was frequently used in public works projects built during the 1930s and 40s.  It imparts a sense of modernity to what might otherwise be rather prosaic structure.   From the dark stripe of roofing tar, one can assume that there was a canopy or awning attached to these two facades.  The building pictured above was part of the original Granger Oil Mill.  Built around 1910, this was a combined cotton compress and cottonseed oil mill, an electric light plant, an ice factory, and a waterworks.  A Sanborn map of Granger, dated 1921, shows the extent of the building’s footprint (in pink).  The portion shown above is at the bottom part of the map.  After the building was sold to J. D. Suggs of San Angelo in 1919, it was renamed Accidental Oil Mill.

Granger is on State Highway 95 twelve miles north of Taylor in northeastern Williamson County. It originated in 1882 when the Houston and San Antonio branches of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad intersected at the site.  The log Grange hall, lodge, and store were moved to the intersection from nearby Macedonia.  The new community, first named Pollack, was later named for the Grange association or for John R. Granger, a Civil War veteran.  Because Granger was in the middle of the fertile blackland area, the railroad network made it an important cotton marketing and shipping point.  The town’s first newspaper, the Granger Banner, appeared sometime before November 1887.  A post office was established in April 1884, and banks, churches, and schools were immediately begun.  The Georgetown and Granger Railroad Company chartered a link line on December 13, 1890, and constructed more than fifteen miles of track between the two towns in 1892 and 1893.  In 1890 Granger had three churches, a college, a hotel, and five gins.  The town was incorporated in 1891. By 1900 the population had risen to 841, and it doubled in the next ten years.  By 1910 a combined cotton compress and cottonseed oil mill, an electric light plant, an ice factory, and a waterworks were all built.  The Granger gin was among the largest of its day in the United States.  Mark Jones opened the town’s first bank in 1894.  In 1912 Granger became the only town in Texas with a population of less than 5,000 that had paved streets.  The Storrs Opera House, built by A. W. Storrs in 1905, hosted traveling shows and even featured the Chicago Opera Company.  Czechs were attracted to the cheap, fertile land, and by the early twentieth century Czech culture, both Catholic and Protestant, had become strong and influential in the community.  A Czech Protestant church was first organized in Granger in 1880.  A Brethren congregation, the most important Czech Protestant church in Texas, was established in 1892.  In 1903 a convention of Brethren congregations in Texas was held in Granger and successfully unified all the congregations into the Evangelical Unity of Bohemian and Moravian Brethren.  A Brethren teacher-training summer school, called Hus Memorial School, was established in Granger in 1914.  It was later moved to Temple. The Granger National Bank, opened in 1937, advertised in Czech newspapers as “your Czech bank.” Našinec, a Czech-language Catholic weekly newspaper for Texas, began in 1914 and was still being published in 1989.

The Granger population peaked in the mid-1920s at over 2,000 and subsequently declined during the general exodus from rural communities to cities.  In 1938 the first corn carnival south of the Mason-Dixon Line attracted 20,000 attendants to Granger.  In 1981 Granger Lake, formed by a dam the San Gabriel River, was opened to the public. The population of Granger in 1987 was 1,236.  In 1990 it was 1,190. The population reached 1,299 in 2000.

REFERENCES:  Barbara McCandless, “GRANGER, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjg08), accessed August 25, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Flint

Flint, at the junction of Farm roads 2868, 346, and 2493, four miles north of Bullard in Smith County, was originally part of the Tomás Quevedo survey.  The site, named for local landowner Robert P. Flynt, became a stop on the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad in 1882.  The post office began operations in 1887 as Flint, when postmaster Charles B. Brown misspelled the name on application forms.  Robert Flynt succeeded him the next year. In 1890 the settlement had a general store, three cotton gins, a physician, and a population of twenty-five. In 1892 the Etna Methodist Church was moved there. By 1902 some 100 local families were engaged in truck farming.  That year they shipped eighty-five railroad cars of tomatoes, as well as large amounts of cabbage, cantaloupes, and peaches.  The town supported a blacksmith shop, a telephone exchange, a telegraph service, and the C. B. Rather and A. M. Campbell mercantile companies.  The local gin and gristmill shipped 750 to 1,000 bales of cotton each year.  Flint also had Methodist and Baptist churches.  Records for 1903 showed two schools, one with three teachers and 147 white students and the other with two teachers and eighty-one black students.

By 1914 local farmers shipped record amounts of nursery stock, fruit, and tomatoes from Flint. That year the population peaked at 450.  The town had six general stores, a bank, and a newspaper, the Flint Weekly Reader.  During the 1920s the original frame school building was torn down and replaced with a two-story brick structure where six teachers taught grades one through ten.  There were five businesses, a physician, and a justice of the peace court.  By 1925 the population had stabilized at 200.  In 1936 a Flint school with seven teachers had 203 white pupils, and a two-teacher facility had fifty-one black students.  The Great Depression greatly injured the business of the area.  After 1950 the population remained around 150.  By 1952 the Flint Independent School District had been established, but it was later consolidated into the Tyler Independent School District.  Maps showed two churches and a cemetery at Flint in 1973, when the old school was in use as a community center.  In 1989 an incredible thirty-seven businesses and a post office were reported.  In 1990 the population was still recorded as 150, but in 2000 it had increased to 700.

REFERENCES:  Vista K. McCroskey, “FLINT, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlf14); accessed August 25, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.