Vanishing Texas Vernacular Architecture

Posts tagged “Matagorda County

Blessing

Blessing is west of the junction of State Highway 35 and Farm Road 616 and twenty miles west of Bay City in northwestern Matagorda County. The town was promoted by Jonathan Edwards Pierce, on whose land it was established. In 1903, when Pierce gave the right-of-way to the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway, the future of the unnamed settlement seemed assured.  A grateful Pierce hoped to designate the place “Thank God,” but the United States Postal Department rejected his proposal.  As a compromise, the place was named Blessing, and a post office opened in 1903, with James H. Logan as first postmaster.  Between 1903 and 1905 a library building was attached to the train station.  In 1905 the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway also built through Blessing.  D. A. Wheeler’s hotel soon followed.

On September 1, 1907, residents platted the townsite, and the townsite company made provisions for school and church sites.  In 1909 P. Ansley established a local newspaper. B y 1914 Blessing had 500 inhabitants, two churches, a bank, a hotel, a telephone connection, and a weekly newspaper, the Blessing News. In 1925 Blessing’s population was still recorded at 500. In 1931 the town had a population of 450 and twenty-two businesses.  During the 1937–38 school year, nine teachers instructed 251 white students in eleven grades, and two teachers instructed thirty-eight black students in seven grades.  By 1949 the Blessing district had been consolidated with the Tidehaven Independent School District.  In 1945 Blessing’s population had risen to 600, served by thirteen businesses. Though in 1966 the population was reported as 1,250; in 1968 it had dropped to 405. In 1990 the town had 571 residents and twelve businesses.

REFERENCE:  Stephen L. Hardin, “BLESSING, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlb36), accessed December 10, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association


Markham

Markham is at the junction of Farm roads 1468 and 2431, six miles northwest of Bay City in northwestern Matagorda County.  The settlement was first called Cortes and from 1901 to 1903 had its own post office under that name.  Cortes, named for H. W. Cortes, president of the Moore-Cortes Canal Company, was on the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway between Markham and the Colorado River.  In 1903 the Moore-Cortes Canal Company boosted community development.  That same year residents altered the name of the town to Markham, after C. H. Markham, an engineer for the Southern Pacific lines.

The building pictured above appears to have been a bank during its prime.  The corner entrance suggests that it was located on an important (probably the most important) corner of the town.  Brickwork on the building is quite complex - forming quoins on the building corners, pilasters, capitals, and friezes.  It’s a shame that vegetation has been allowed to engulf this little gem of a building.

The post office was established under the new name in 1903 and was still in operation in the early 1990s.  By 1914 Markham had become a stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad and had a population of 500. In 1925 its population was estimated at 400. Markham in 1936 had numerous dwellings and two schools, two churches, a factory, and about ten other businesses, including a hotel run by A. A. Moore.  By the 1930s Markham residents had established an independent school district.  During the school year 1937–38, eight teachers instructed 278 white students through grade eleven, and two teachers instructed thirty-six black students through grade seven.  The population of Markham was reported at 700 in 1943.  By 1949 its schools had been consolidated with the Tidehaven Independent School District. Markham constructed a public school complex in 1952.  In 1950 the community population had been reported as 300, and in 1965 it was 750, with seven businesses.  In 1970 the population was 603, which remained the reported estimate through the 1980s.

REFERENCE:  Stephen L. Hardin, “MARKHAM, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlm29), accessed December 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


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