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Mills County TX
Mills County

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Mills County, Texas Hill Country

31°28'07"N 98°18'58"W (31.4684944, -98.3161482)
Highway 84
Farm Road 1047
Near the Hamilton county line
E of Goldthwaite the county seat
N of Lampasas
W of Evant
Population: 110 est. (2010) 85 est. (1990, 2000)

Star, Texas Area Hotels › Lampasas Hotels
Star Texas farmhouse and trees
Photo courtesy Nancy F. Payne
Star, Texas Old Photos

Star, Texas Topics:

  • Star of Mills County - History by Mike Cox
  • History in a Pecan Shell
  • Star, Texas Landmarks/Attractions - photo gallery
  • Star, Texas Old Photos next page
  • Forum - Lives and times in Star, Texas
  • Star is Born
    Star of Mills County

    "Texas Tales" column by Mike Cox

    Twinkle, twinkle, little star
    How I wonder what you are!
    Jane Taylor, 1806

    In Mills County, at least, the answer’s easy. Star is a small community on U.S. Highway 84, just east of the Hamilton County line. Not so easily answered is how Star got its iconic name.

    The Handbook of Texas says Star is named for Star Mountain, but that begs the question, “OK, so why did someone give a mountain that name?”

    Billie Gail Soules Day saw first hand how Star came to be Star one day in 1947 after she went for a spin in a military-surplus biplane against her father’s wishes.

    “Some of the local high school boys and recent graduates had repaired an old Army plane so it could fly again,” she recalls. “My father told me not to go up in it, but I did.”

    With a slightly older male friend at the controls, Day sat in the open seat behind the young pilot and got to look down on a nearby mountain that from above appears to lay in the form a five-pointed star.

    Alec Street laid out the town in the mid-1880s and is the first person who explored the mountain,” Day continues. “He figured out from the ground that it was spread out like a star and said our town should be called Star Mountain. There was already a post office by that name, so they decided to call this Star, Texas.”

    Not only did Street stake out Star’s streets, he operated the town’s general store and cotton gin. Calvin Skinner became the town’s first post master when mail delivery began in 1886. By 1895, Star had two more stores, a drug store, a blacksmith shop and a saloon-pool hall.

    Star continued to grow at a modest rate, though it experienced a set back in May 1904 when a tornado swept through the town. The storm leveled five houses and killed a couple of residents.

    The town recovered from that blow, but the advent of paved roadways made it easier for folks to do their shopping in the larger nearby town of Hamilton or Goldthwaite. And unless they needed gas, people driving from Waco to Brownwood on U.S. 84 didn’t have any compelling reasons to stop in Star.

    Then the Great Depression hit. The local bank losts all its cash and some negotiable bonds to an armed robber who never got caught, but following a chance in ownership, the bank survived the economic downtown. In 1939, Star’s population high point, it still had three grocery stores, a general merchandise store, a variety store, two garages, a beauty shop, a barber shop and a café.

    A retired teacher, Day returned to her hometown in 1999 and became the prime mover in getting a 1938-vintage stone building converted into a museum. She is curator of the museum and the go-to person for historical information on Star.

    For years, the town’s cotton gin was the town’s economic engine, but the gin shut down in 1950. By that time, Star had long since seen its most prosperous days. For those who still lived there, life went on at a pretty slow pace until the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department started building its game warden training academy on a nearby ranch that had been donated to the state agency. The first cadet class graduated from the new facility in 2009.

    While Star is certainly no boom town, it is the closest town, with the nearest convenience store, to the academy. Off-duty cadets, staff members and visiting instructors add to the town’s economy.

    “We’re delighted to have the game warden academy here,” Day says. “It’s really helped our post office and our one café at the Mini-Mart.”

    Indeed, after they’re through for the day, game warden cadets or game wardens at the center for in-service training, often drop by Star’s lone café for semi-home cooking ranging from chicken fried steaks to burgers with the house-specialty onion rings and from-scratch pecan and buttermilk pies.

    The Star Historical Museum is open from 3-5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free.

    © Mike Cox - "Texas Tales"
    May 5, 2011 column
    Star, Texas city limit sign
    Entering Star, Texas
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    History in a Pecan Shell

    The town was named after nearby Star Mountain.

    A timeline of important events in Star's history:
    In the 1880s - the town was laid out by a man appropriately named Street (Alex Street).
    1886: The post office was granted and Calvin Skinner was the postmaster. The previously mentioned Alex Street ran a store and a cotton gin.
    1905: The zenith of prosperity for Star. First permanent church is built.
    1910: Star gets a bank - but after a robbery in the 20s, it is closed.
    1944: Star had eight businesses and a population of 171.

    Star, Texas Landmarks/Attractions:

    Star, Texas - Star Historical Museum
    The Star Historical Museum
    Photo courtesy Jim and Lou Kinsey, 2003
    The Star Historical Museum
    Farm Road 1047, south of US Highway 84
    Hours - Sunday 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Free admission.
    Contact the museum for special tours.
    Star, Texas - Star Historical Museum sign
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    More Texas Museums
    Star Texas post office
    Star Post Office, TX 76880
    Photo courtesy Jim and Lou Kinsey, 2003

    More Texas Post Offices
    Star Tx - Road Side Cafe
    Star roadside cafe
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    Star Tx - United Methodist Church
    United Methodist Church
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    Star Tx Baptist Church
    Star Baptist Church
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    More Texas Churches
    Star School, Texas
    Star School
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    More Texas Schoolhouses
    Star Tx Vacant Store
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    More Texas Stores
    Star Tx - Closed Gas Station
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    Star Tx - Closed Gas Station
    Closed gas stations
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    More Texas Gas Stations
    Star Tx - Garage Coca-Cola Sign
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    More Coca-Cola
    Star, Texas - Outhouse
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    See Texas Outhouses
    Old car in Star, Texas
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2008
    See Rust in Pieces
    Star Texas bible school children group photo by Waco photographer Gildersleeve
    Star Vacation Bible School Group Portrait July 1951
    by the famed Waco Photographer Gildersleeve

    Photo courtesy Nancy F. Payne
    Star, Texas Old Photos
    Star, Texas Forum
  • Subject: Star, Texas
    Dear TE, I found [your page on] Star, Texas, and I was impressed. My father was the Methodist Minister there from 1954 to 1956. His duties also included Center City, and Pear Valley Methodist Churches. We moved to Star from South Texas and my brother and I attended school in Star. During the time my father was minister there a new parsonage was built and an educational building that I still have pictures of. Back in 1987 I made a trip to Star and stopped at the one service station there and met James Clary who I went to school with and spent time on his parent's ranch. We caught up on a lot of old times and history. Again thank you for putting the history and commits about Star on the internet. - Bobby Barth, Friendswood, Texas, November 26, 2007

  • Subject: Star, Texas 1970's
    Dear TE, I was a teacher in Star, Texas in the 1970's and the first woman to coach basketball there. We lived on the old Jim Soul's place before some of the diversion terraces where put in. One July 4th, there came a heavy rain out toward Goldthwaite and Center. It had rained about 6 inches and all the water came down the creek at one time. We raced to the creek from the house to pull the irrigation pipe. The chain broke on the release and I had to dive into the pool of water to release the water from the tube. I got it just in time. As I climbed out of the water to the upper bank, fifteen feet of water was making its way to where I had just been. The water came up to the top of the banks and blocked the crossing for several hours.

  • Another time I was driving the old pick-up to school and it rained so much that the Slaughter Branch was up. I was caught at the high water but my husband brought up our horse and took me across the flooded branch on that horse (with me dressed all in pink). When we got to the other side, a neighbor, who was the school board president happened to be driving by on the "main" road and he took me to school. I have about a million stories to tell about Star, the people who lived there and the wildlife (rattlesnakes, deer, wild turkey, and bobcats). Thanks for the opportunity to remember that happy and carefree time. - Jerry Harris, June 12, 2007

  • Subject: Star, Texas
    I was surprised but happy to find a site about Star, Texas. My fathers’ family is from there and my father and grandparents and probably great grandparent are buried there. My aunt recently contacted me and sent me some old photos of my families connection to Star, here they are... - Nancy F. Payne, Carbondale, CO, January 16, 2007

  • Subject: Star, Texas
    I graduated in 2004 from Star High School, there was 8 of us that graduated. Star school still plays Basketball, Six man football, Tennis and Track. We are a very small community, but our school is still running, this year (2006) Star is a favorite to make the playoffs in football for the first time in 21 years. So anybody that attended this great school we invite u to come and support your alma mater and cheer them on a great season. - Gerardo Martinez, August 11, 2006

  • Subject: Star, TX / George Thomas Lovelace
    A couple of weeks ago I finally drove through Star, TX on my way from Llano, TX area to Grand Prairie, TX. It is a neat place and I plan to return to the Star Historical Museum when it is open. I was born (1945) in Brownwood, TX and then moved to Odessa, TX when I was 7 years old (1952). My grandfather was George Thomas Lovelace (1881 - we think he was born in Hix Community and Cameron, TX area) and he told me he lived in Star, TX also. He would travel by horse and wagon to Indian Creek, TX to court my grandmother, Katie Sandol Martin. They were married 29 June 1905 in Indian Creek, TX. g-grandfather was Socrates Martin of Indian Creek, TX. After my grandparents married they lived at Indian Creek, TX, Buffalo, TX (close to Bangs, TX), Zephyr, TX, and Brownwood, TX. My g-grandfather was William Henry Lovelace, born in Alabama on their way from Georgia to Texas. My g-g-grandfather is buried (lost grave) at Hix Community close to Caldwell, TX. Would like to learn more about my grandfather living in Star, TX. Relatives are bured at Indian Creek Cemetery and Ebony Cemetery. If anyone can help me please e-mail me at georgia.park@lmco.com. As a young girl in the 1950s, my parents and grandpartents would drive to someplace close to Goldthwaite, TX and we would lay down in the Uranium beds and they would cover you up with Uranium. They said it helped joint pain. That was an experience I have never forgotten. I can hardly wait to come visit the museum and drive around Star, TX again. - Sincerely, Georgia Park, Grand Prairie, March 11, 2006

  • Subject: Elliot Autry Street the founder of Star Texas was my Great-Great-Grandfather

    I found your interesting web-site today regarding Star, Texas. I have only been to Star once and plan to go back soon when the small museum is open.

    According to a 1955 bio-letter written by my Great-Grandmother Lucinda Street Henry; my Great-Great-Grandfather Elliot Autry Street named Star after a "mountain" on his property that had the shape of a 5 pointed star. The Streets came to Texas from Snow County Mississippi in 1882 or 1883 and had several businesses there as well as ranching. My Grandmother Seleta Cordelia Henry Evans (1900) and my dad Dow Evans (1923) were born in Star so I have a strong mental tie to the town. - Thanks, Steve, March 29, 2005

  • I stumbled across your excellent site while looking for information about one of my favorite childhood memories of time spent on a ranch near Star. Ahhh, the marvel of the internet. To stir memories of childhood and loves past.

    I lived on a ranch that was run (rather shoddily, no doubt) by my stepfather Ed Bridges. I do not recall the name of the ranch but it was purchased by Don and Martha Vincent from the previous owners by the name of Street or perhaps Streeter? The man the Vincents purchased the place from was in Dairy Queen commercials or perhaps some of the commercials were filmed on the ranch. This was close to 30 years ago now so my recollections on such details are a bit foggy in spots.

    What I do clearly recall was the freedom a 12 year old boy found in those Texas hills. Countless hours spent with my faithful dog Ginger exploring the wooded mysteries. A boy, his dog and a .22 bolt action rifle. Supposedly squirell hunting. More akin to squirell watching. Hours spent stretched out on a boulder watching lazy clouds drift by. Finding that awesome swimming hole down at the creek. Even the time spent on that Massey Fergusen tractor pulling a brush hog or helping build fence....supposed to be work......was all magic to me. That and of course the fact that I was madly in love with one of the owners daughters, Nicole, etches those awkward yet wonderful years in my memory still.

    If anyone knows the name of that ranch based on these clues I'd love to hear from you. I remember there was a big 2 story house we lived in at the bottom of a long hill.....gravel road. I crashed my bicycle more than once flying insanely down that long gravel hill. - Stephen Mims, February 11, 2005

  • I spent many a summer on my Granddaddy's ranch in Star. His name was James F(Jim) Soules. From picking up pecans to swimming and fishing in Bennet creek, some of my best childhood memories are from there. The rock that built most of the town and school came from his ranch. There was a book written about Mills county back in the late 70's that had a lot of history in it. One was the story of Jim Soules and partner starting the first electric service in Star---DC electricity from glass batteries. - Audrey Soules, December 06, 2004

  • I have a lot of good memories about Star, Texas. I never lived in Star, but I spent a lot of summers down on the Lampases River at my Grandad's Farm. His name was Cyrus Fields. I have heard about the Museum at Star, from my brother, Tommy Hamilton. ... I think that the picture of the two story building is one that I remember and I think the Masonic lodge used to be upstairs. If there is a Hamilton or a Fields in that part of the country, I am related to them, probably. R.N. Hamilton of Evant is my 1st cousin. Thanks for listening. - Bill Hamilton, November 19, 2004

  • TX Mills  County 1940s Map
    Mills County 1940s map showing Star - E of Goldthwaite
    near Hamilton county line
    From Texas state map #4335
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office
    Take a road trip

    Star, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Goldthwaite the county seat
    See Mills County | Hamilton County

    Texas Hill Country

    Book Hotel Here:
    Lampasas Hotels | More Hotels
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