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    MERKEL, TEXAS

    Taylor County, Panhandle / North Central Texas
    Off I-20
    17 Miles W of Abilene
    Population Population: 2,637 (2000)

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    Downtown Merkel Texas
    Downtown Merkel
    Photo courtesy Steve Johnson, May 2007
    History in a Pecan Shell

    Once known as Windmill Town, Merkel came into existence with the arrival of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. It was properly named after early settler S. M. Merkel in 1881. The towns first store opened in 1882 and a post office opened in June of 1883.

    By 1885 there were 25 people calling Merkel home but five years later this number had increased to 400. Merkel's population was served by a Methodist church (1882), a Baptist Church (1885), Grace Presbyterian Church (1886) and the Church of Christ (1903).
    First Methodist Church in Merkel, Texas


    First Methodist Church in Merkel

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2004
    More Texas Churches
    Merkels first students were taught by Mrs. A. M. Thorntonin in the railroad depot before a proper school was constructed in 1887. In 1887 a college was opened but it closed after a short four years of operation. Merkels population reached 600 by 1897.

    In 1890 the Merkel Mail was first published. Merkel incorporated in 1906 with G. W. Johnson serving as the town's first mayor. The Farmers and Merchants National Bank was organized in 1904.

    Dr. Robert Grimes opened the town's first hospital in 1926 which remained in service until the 1960s. While agriculture was the town's first economic engine - it has shifted over the years to include oil-related employment and work at the nearby Dyess Air Force Base.

    Merkel has maintained a healthy population over the years - never having suffered a serious decline. From 1,800 in 1933, to 2,000 in 1940, and 2,300 by 1950.
    former Farmers and Merchants National Bank downtown Merkel Texas
    The former Farmers and Merchants National Bank downtown
    Photo courtesy Steve Johnson, May 2007
    More Texas Banks

    Remembrances
    The Queen Theatre in Merkel
    or Reflections through a Dr. Pepper bottle

    by Roger T. Moore
    Photo courtesy
    Billy Smith

    Merkel Events

    Lord's Acre by Mike Cox
    "... Always held the Saturday night before Thanksgiving, the event makes for a double November holiday for folks who live in and around Mulberry Canyon and its nearest town, Merkel. ..."

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    People

    Cornelia Clark Fort Marker
    Southwest of Merkel


    James Swann Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
    Merkel is the hometown of Texas Cartoonist Roger T. Moore.

    See "Moore Texas" Texas History Cartoon
    Roger T. Moore drawing his cartoon
    Roger T. Moore at work on "Moore Texas"

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their town history, stories, and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

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    Merkel, Texas
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    Abilene
    Taylor County Towns
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