Jim Wells County,
Hwy 359 and FM 624
17 miles North of Alice
14 miles South of Mathis
Population: 1,288 (2000) 1,175 (1990)
Hotel Here > Alice
in a Pecan Shell
Once part of the
huge Ventana Ranch, the town began in 1889 with the arrival
of the SAAP (San Antonio and Aransas Pass) Railroad. Ranch owners
donated 51 acres of land to insure the railroad would provide a spur
for the ranch’s use.
In 1908 2,500 more acres of the ranch (and adjoining Miller’s Ranch)
were subdivided in hopes of luring a population. Word spread throughout
German communities in Texas and many
families flocked to the new town optimistically named Orange Grove.
A post office was granted in 1909 and the town saw the opening of
the first store. The population was 200 in 1914 and the town was served
by four general stores, a gin, a bank and even a newspaper.
In 1914 the railroad finally kept its promise for a spur to the ranch
– including its own station. By 1925 Orange Grove hit 300 residents
and before the effects of The Great Depression were felt, it peaked
with 1,000 residents in 1931.
Being a closely-knit community, the decline in population wasn’t as
drastic as in other parts of Texas. The
1939 population was 750 which climbed to 906 by the early 1940s.
After a 10% increase in the 1960s, it was back to 1,000 in the 1970s.
It has remained at that level (more or less) ever since – reaching
a new high of 1,288 for the 2000 census.
in the Rio Grande Valley
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/
Beginnings of Orange Grove TX
"Written by my paternal grandmother, Ida Duevel Boehm, for the
Bicentennial in 1976, about the beginnings of Orange Grove TX in Jim
Wells County." - Marva Mason
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