With a little imagination, you can picture customers of Home Lumber Company walking out of the store with reels of barbed wire, bags of chicken feed, and assorted hardware. The Massey-Harris dealer next door no doubt sold tractors and other farm implements to many of the same customers. Businesses like these were the mainstays of rural communities across the State.
Melvin, in the late 1980s the second largest town in McCulloch County, is on Farm Road 2087 just south of U.S. Highway 87, fifteen miles west of Brady. It was named for W. H. Melvin, who built a ranch house in the area in 1874. The townsite was laid out in 1904, and a post office was established in 1906. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built through Melvin in 1912. By 1914 the town had two cotton gins, two general stores, and seventy-five residents. The Melvin Rustler began publication in 1915, and the Melvin Enterprise was established in 1923 and was still publishing in the 1980s.
Melvin had a school system (Melvin Independent School District) serving grades 1 thru 12 through May 1971. In the summer of 1971, the school was officially closed and all students were consolidated into the Brady Independent School District. The Melvin School system was active in academics, UIL competitions, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, junior high and high school sports including football, basketball, volleyball, track, softball, and baseball. Annual livestock shows were held as well. Melvin High School was able to field good 11-man football teams until the 1960s. As the school and town populations shrank in size, the school was moved into the 6-man football districts in which it did very well. The school also had a drill team that performed at all home and away games. The last senior class to graduate from Melvin High School held their graduation in May 1971. There were two seniors that year.
By 1931 thirty-eight businesses served a population of 650. Melvin reached its peak population of 925 in 1949; the number of residents declined steadily thereafter. When Melvin was incorporated in the early 1950s, its population was 696. The railroad was abandoned in 1972. In 1988 Melvin reported six businesses and 213 residents, and in 1990, 184 residents. In 2000 the population was 155.
You can see more images from Melvin HERE.
Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “MELVIN, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org /handbook/online/articles/hlm56). Published by the Texas State Historical Association.