a Pecan Shell
Prairie Dell dates
from the late 1860s when it barely had a store. Situated on a cattle
trail on the way to northern cattle markets, it was granted a post
office in 1877. It closed the following year, but reopened fifteen
years later. In the mid 1890s the community had 75 residents served
by two stores, a drugstore and a blacksmith.
Spiritual needs were served by two Baptist Churches and one Presbyterian
congregation. The town’s school was one of the largest rural schools
in Bell County in
1903 with a reported 129 students taught by 2 teachers.
Prarie Dell peaked in 1904 with a population of 134. Its proximity
to Belton may have
stifled it’s growth and the Great Depression no doubt took a toll,
but by the mid 1960s the town had just 20 residents. The 1990 census
counted 12 residents with only one church at that time.
|1907 Postal map
showing Prairie Dell
(S of Belton near Williamson
County line. Below "EL" in "B-E-L-L")
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
by Clay Coppedge
Prairie Dell was once the site of a roadside attraction and later
the principle set for the sequel to the movie "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
The movie is often described as a cult favorite, which usually means
it's either so bad it's good, or it has a preposterous premise that
people think is based on a real incident. Contrary to a popular myth
of the urban variety, neither the original "Texas Chainsaw," the sequel
or a remake is based on fact. The term "Inspired By A True Story"
has taken root in the imagination of some fans; in some cases, it
has blossomed into a shocking true story that never happened. These
people are not swayed by facts... more
Saw Confidential: How We Made the World's Most Notorious Horror Movie
by Dr. Kirk Bane
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact