in a Pecan Shell|
Just into the 20th Century, James and Charles Fowler
formed the Fowler Brothers Land Company in an ambitious attempt to sell off and/or
develop 100,000-acres that had once belonged to the huge Dull Ranch.
Things looked promising – they had a river for irrigation and a railroad to take
produce to market.
The railroad was the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf
Railway. The brothers convinced the railroad to include the modestly named town
on their tracks and they had constructed dams on the Frio river to provide the
The town was platted on a grid and 200 miles of public roads were
graded. The brothers also built a cotton gin in anticipation of huge cotton crops.
With everything in place – they set out to recruit settlers, investors and business
people to populate their town.
The land was divided into small tracts sold
on generous terms. For $25 down and $10 a family could get land for crops AND
a nice lot in town. By October 1911, when the SAU&G officially arrived in Fowlerton,
the town was prepared with two hotels, three stores, miles of streets, telephones
and 1,200 Fowlerites. By 1914 nearly 2,000 people were comfortably enjoying life
by the Frio River.
Texas Vintage Postcards:These
postcards were used by the Fowler Bros. Land Company to promote their new town.
After 1917, a severe drought set the entire area behind and people started moving
to greener and wetter pastures. Bitter farmers blamed the Fowler Brothers and
they were the target of a number of lawsuits accusing them of fraud.
town’s decline was immediate. By 1925 the population had dropped to 600, and by
1931 only six businesses were open. By 1949 the population had declined to only
300 residents and by the mid 1960s it was only 200.
In 1972 the population
was down to 100 (the same as the estimated population of 1990).
one unnamed newspaper called Fowlerton a "near-ghost town."
TE photo, 8-02
A recent visit showed Fowlerton to have new street signs for its well-planned
grid of streets. The post office is the dominant building and the abundance of
cactus and mesquite trees arrange picturesque groupings. |
Fowlerton Backstreets and BB Guns
Dear TE, Thanks for the memories. I grew up around Fowlerton and Cotulla. My grandparents
(Buck and Agnes Turman) lived behind the general store, set back off the road,
apiece, in a quaint red house. My papaw was a well respected rancher, and my childhood
memories of working cattle at the ripe ol age of 5, or rabbit hunting with a B.B.
gun, riding my horse on the backstreets of town are plentiful. Such great memories.
I used to ride past the old falling-down saloon and imagine what stories were
told there or how many brawls took place. On my grandfather's land there was an
old school. I’d find old ink wells, and wonder how many children might've walked
through those schoolhouse doors. My papaw also owned an old theater. Not useable
now, by any means, but at one time the patrons watched movies on a 6 ft wide and
4 ft tall screen that was bordered by old palm fronds. With no air conditioning,
one wall was slatted about halfway up so air could pass through and there was
still remnants of snowcone syrups, so they knew how to stay cool. My grandmother,
still living, is 95 years old. We live in Bandera Texas now, She knows much more
of Fowlerton's history and I have many more stories to share. - Demaris Wilson,
Bandara, Texas, January 14, 2007
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