History in a Pecan Shell
Malakoff joins Odessa,
on the list of towns in Texas named after places in the former
Like many Texas towns, Malakoff started out under a different name.
Actually two. Caney Creek (whose name is still found just north
of town) and Mitcham Chapel. In 1854, the town applied for
a post office under the name Mitcham or Purdon, but both of these
names were already in use by other communities. According to the
Handbook of Texas, it was postal authorities in Washington that
The British capture of the towered Russian fort at Malakoff in the
Crimean War had been in the news about the time the application was
submitted, and the suggested name was submitted - and accepted.
Malakoff presently enjoys its peak population of around 2,300 people.
Man", Coal, Clay & Brick
In the 1930s, three
crudely carved stone heads were unearthed in the region. Collectively
they became known as "Malakoff Man." Extensive excavations around
the site did not yield additional artifacts and their origin remains
a mystery to this day.
But the soil around Malakoff had been revealing other things for years.
Lignite coal had been discovered in 1912 and mining soon became
the dominant industry in Henderson
County. Texas Power and Light built a generating station close
to the source and as many as 600 miners worked the veins of coal.
The mines closed in 1945 but there has been a Miner's Reunion held
every five years since.
Clay provided the material for the county's other main industry: brick
production. Ironically, most of downtown Malakoff was built prior
to the brick plant's construction but two huge kilns remain today
and production continues under the name of Acme. Bricks found around
the state marked MALAKOFF are usually light-colored.
In 1904 Mr. Thomas Anthony Bartlett of Malakoff devised a way of coloring
brick, touching off a new age of architectural elegance. He took his
discovery to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and won a Blue Ribbon
for his white brick.
by Charlie Bullock
and Brad Smith
Malakoff has several exceptional murals. Artist Charlie
Bullock maintains a gallery in nearby Athens
and teaches art classes in a private school there.
Brad Smith's mural below faces Malakoff's Cornbread Square. Individuals
in the mural are painted from actual townspeople. Smith also painted
the mural of the former Carnegie Library shown on our Corsicana
on Cornbread Square by Brad Smith
The Square is where
Malakoff's Cornbread Festival is held every year. Although
only eight miles from Athens
and their famous Black-Eye Pea Festival, Malakoff serves
pinto beans with their cornbread.
Hwy 31 east 8 miles to Athens.
Hwy 31 west 13 miles to Kerens,
another 14 miles to Corsicana.
Escapes, 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