in a Pecan Shell
began just after the Civil War and the community was originally known
as Willow Springs. Since that name was already in use, the
people chose Mart when they applied for a post office (which opened
in 1880). Their hope was that the name would be prophetic and their
town would become a regional commercial hub.
In the mid 1880s, Mart had a population of 150 people. The railroad
was rather late in reaching Mart. It wasn’t until 1900 when the IG&N
(International and Great Northern) connected Marlin
The town incorporated in 1901, the same year a school district was
organized and the first bank opened. Two more banks opened (1904 and
1909). Mart was ahead of most towns its size with paved roads, electricity
and telephone service.
Between1900 and 1910, the population jumped from a mere 300 residents
to nearly 3,000 (2,939 to be exact). By 1914 businesses included an
ice factory and two newspapers.
Although the Great Depression merged two banks, for the most part,
Mart glided through the Great Depression. However, when the railroad
discontinued passenger service, the blow was a hard one.
Residents leaving in search of jobs reduced the population from its
peak of 3,800 (1929) to 2,853 as the Great Depression gathered momentum.
The 1950 population was reduced to 2,273 and the 1970 population was
recorded as 2,183.
In the 1970s the railroad cut all service, depriving the town of a
substantial cash influx.
The population was 2,031 in the late 1970s but rebounded to 2,324
in 1982. The 1990 census counted 2,004 residents that increased to
2,273 by 2000.
|A building in
TE photo, June 2003
Mart city limit,
McLennan County line
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, June 2010
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