architecture

Kosse

Kosse is located southwestern Limestone County on State Highway 7 approximately eighteen miles east of Marlin.  Settlers made homes by nearby Duck Creek in the mid-1840s and ran a stage stop for the Franklin-Springfield and Waco-Marlin stage routes.  In 1869 Kosse became the end of the Houston and Texas Central Railway and was named for Theodore Kosse, a chief engineer for the railroad and the man who surveyed the road for the town.  Businesses moved to Kosse from Eutaw, two miles west, and the Eutaw post office was moved to Kosse in 1870.  Development of a town government began in 1871 and within ten years had reached a population of 500.  Union, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches were organized.  The New Era, the first newspaper, was published before 1880.  The Cyclone was begun in 1885 by James O. Jones.  That year the town had several cotton gins, two sawmills, and three gristmills.  John Dimelow, an Englishman, opened a ceramics lab in 1870.  Kosse also had the first brickyard in the county.

Limestone County historically supported numerous pottery producing kilns.  This industry succeeded near area outcroppings of kaolin, or potter’s clay, within the Wilcox geologic formation.  Alberry Johnson began the first county pottery in 1859 near Dooley Creek.  Like most other regional potteries, Johnson’s kiln was of the groundhog variety, a subterranean design with a doorway leading to a long underground passage lined with brick or rock.  At the end of the corridor, a chimney rose out of the ground, drawing heat from a firebox outside the door which baked pottery within the passageway.  William Curtis Knox later moved Johnson’s operation and established the town of Pottersville (later Oletha).  The pottery was one of the largest in Texas, remaining active until 1912; today, Pottershop Cemetery marks the site.  Several other kilns in the area provided work and income to supplement residents’ farming efforts. Near this site, German immigrant Lee Kimik built a kiln active in the 1870s and 1880s. Records indicated that the business remained in fulltime operation eight months of the year. The kiln, similar to other groundhog examples, had longer and deeper sidewalls, possibly indicating European design influences. Unlike other area potters who marketed their work collectively, Kimik sold his wares directly to the community of Headsville. He also marked his pottery, a rare feature among his Texas peers. In 1984, archeologists documented the Kimik Kiln site reviving the story of Lee Kimik through archival research and archeological investigation. The historic site has made significant contributions to understanding the industry and artistry of 19th-century Texas.

On October 1, 1884, an acre of land was granted for a public school.  Kosse’s school became an independent school district with J. Thomas Hall as superintendent around 1892–93.  In 1893 one school in Kosse had 225 students and six teachers, and another school had eighty black students.  In 1914 Kosse had three businesses, two banks, and a population of 700.  In 1921 the chamber of commerce was organized.  By 1931 Kosse the population was over 1,500 and the town had fifty-eight businesses. After that the population and number of businesses slowly began to decline.

REFERENCE:  Stephanie A. Panus, “KOSSE, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlk14), accessed August 25, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Monahans

Sunset Motel - Monahans, TX

Monahans is at the intersection of Farm Road 18 and Interstate Highway 20, thirty-six miles southwest of Odessa in northeast Ward County.  The town was named for Thomas John (Pat) Monahan, who dug the first water well between the Pecos River and Big Spring at Monahans in 1881 and selected the site for a water tank, around which a ranch supply point later developed.  The town was originally called Monahan’s Well. The Texas and Pacific Railway reached the site in August 1881.  A post office was established at Monahans in 1883, and in 1900 James R. Holman opened the Monahans Hotel, a landmark for prospectors and land agents.  Growth was slow.  A public school was begun in 1898; the following year thirty-six students attended.  The precinct that included Pyote and Monahans had 222 residents in 1900; by 1905 Monahans itself had an estimated population of eighty-nine.  In 1910 the precinct had a population of 378, two churches, and several businesses.  Monahans did not begin to grow more rapidly until the opening of the nearby Hendrick oilfield in 1926.  The town was incorporated in 1928, and Fred G. Gipson was elected the first mayor.  In 1929 the Texas-New Mexico Railway completed tracks from Monahans to Lovington, New Mexico, to handle the increasing transportation demands of the oilfields.  By 1930 the population had increased to 816.

The 1930s were boom years.  A carbon black plant opened in 1937 at Monahans, and a chemical plant opened the following year.  In 1938 Monahans became the county seat in place of Barstow, which was becoming a service and supply center for oil activity.  By 1940 the population of Monahans had grown to 3,944.  The Texas Electric Service Company’s Permian Basin Generating Station began in 1948 and developed into a large plant.  The population increased to 6,311 in 1950 and 8,567 in 1960. As oil activity subsequently declined, the population of Monahans also decreased; it was 8,333 in 1970 and an estimated 8,397 in 1982.  In 1990 it was 8,101. The population dropped to 6,821 in 2000.

REFERENCE:  Glenn Justice, “MONAHANS, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hfm05), accessed March 14, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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.