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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Panhandle :

COTTONWOOD, TEXAS

Callahan County, Texas Panhandle
Farm Road 880
FM 1079
8 miles N of Cross Plains
33 miles SW of Eastland
45 miles SE of Abilene

Population: 156(2000) 65 (1990)


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Cottonwood, Texas main street, 1890s
The main intersection in Cottonwood, late 1890s.
Photo courtesy cottonwoodtexas.com
History in a Pecan Shell

Cottonwood was settled around 1875 or 1876. The man given the credit – J. W. Love - didn’t have the type of name that lends itself to town-naming, so they choose the local abundant Cottonwood trees.

The region received a (relatively) large influx of families from East Texas since the land was somewhat stump-free.

Dr. H. O. Broadnax built the first store and a post office was established shortly thereafter in 1882*.

A weekly newspaper, the Prodigal was published in 1890 when the town reached it’s high water mark of 350 residents.

According to interviews with the Newton Brothers (train and bank robbers) from Uvalde – the Newtons had once lived near Cottonwood.

It is reported that Cottonwood experienced a rash of shootings “with fatal results” during it’s embryo period.

Fruit and vegetable canning looked like it would become Cottonwood’s economic niche when a cannery opened in 1903, but as transportation became affordable, people left Cottonwood and those who remained went into ranching.

The population fell to 300 by 1915 and by 1940 there were only 120 people left in town.

The 1980 census reported 65 people and it was the same in 1990.
Cottonwood Post Office, formerly Cottonwood , Texas bank
Cottonwood Post Office, originally a bank and still has the bank vault inside.

Photo courtesy cottonwoodtexas.com, 3-2003

Cottonwood Post Office

"The building is maintained by the Cottonwood Historical Association, which also maintains the Methodist Church and both Cottonwood Cemeteries. The association meets the first Saturday of May in the Community Center." - Teri Brown
Cottonwood old school house / community center, Texas
Cottonwood Old School House / Community Center

Photo courtesy cottonwoodtexas.com, 3-2003

Cottonwood Old School House / Community Center

"Cottonwood Community Center, once the school house in Cottonwood. The Center is maintained by the Cottonwood Quilting Club, which quilts at the center on Thursdays.

Up until a few years ago, the building housed the "Cottonwood Musical" on the third Friday of every month. Fiddlers, guitar players and other musicians would come from miles around. Folks would enjoy country music and homebaked pies. "Turkey Supper" night and "Rehab Night" a benefit for the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, both projects of the Quilting Club, are still held at the Community Center.

The first Saturday in May the Community Center is the site for the Cottonwood Historical Association's annual meeting." - Teri Brown
Old Methodist Church in Cottonwood, Texas
Old Methodist Church in Cottonwood.

Photo courtesy cottonwoodtexas.com, 3-2003
Cottonwood old cemetery entrance

Photo courtesy cottonwoodtexas.com, 3-2003
Historical marker
A historical marker at FM 1079 and Center Street states: “ W. F. Griffin opened a bank about 1911 in this small frame building. With Griffin as a director, Paul Ramsey served as the first president. His duties included teller, cashier, loan officer and custodian. When the railroad bypassed Cottonwood, merchants and residents moved away. In January 1915, the bank closed. In 1918 Hazel Respess opened a post office* in the building and ran it for the next 50 years. In 1975, postal service here was stopped. This spot has been a gathering place for the community”.

*There seems to be a discrepancy in the date of the post office opening. The historical marker states 1918 while the Handbook of Texas states about 1882.

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