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TENAHA, TEXAS

Shelby County, East Texas
US 59/84, and 96
4 miles E of Bobo
10 miles E of Timpson
11 miles N of Center
16 miles S of Carthage
39 miles NE of Nacogdoches
Population: 1,046 (2000) 1,072 (1990)

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Tenaha Texas early 1900s street  scene
Early 1900s Tenaha street scene
Courtesy texasoldphotos.com
History in a Pecan Shell

Founded as a shipping point on the Houston, East and West Texas Railway in 1885, the community was named for Tenehaw Municipality, the original name of Shelby County.

A post office was granted in 1886 and by 1890 the population was 200. By 1896 it was publishing it's own weekly newspaper and had become a major shipping center for lumber and produce. The population had increased to 680.

Lumber-manufacturing and a large canning operation bolstered the local economy through the 40s and 50s. Toledo Bend Reservoir and the fishermen that it attracts are now a permanent economic mainstay.
Tenaha Texaswelcome sign showing "Tehaha, Timpson, Bobo and Blair"
Tenaha Welcome Sign
TE Photo, July 2001
Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair by Archie P. McDonald, PhD

Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair are communities in Shelby County whose names were appropriated for a plea by crapshooters for good luck when seeking to roll double fives. Similarly, dice throwers hoping for an "eight" would sing out, "Eighter from Decatur, the County Seat of Wise." Later the alliteration in the sing-song phrase "Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair" helped a folk song recorded by Tex Ritter popular.

How did the communities become involved with dice and popular music? ... more
Loop 168 marker, shortest highway in Texas
Marker for Loop 168, the shortest highway in Texas
TE Photo, July 2001
A ghost staircase in Tenaha, Texas
A ghost staircase in Tenaha
TE Photo, July 2001
Tenaha TX Time Capsule
Tenaha Time Capsule
TE Photo, July 2001
Tenaha City Hall, Tenaha, Texas
Tenaha City Hall
TE photo, July 2001
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