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VAN, TEXAS

Van Zandt County, North Central Texas

I-20, State Highway 110, and FM 314
About 14 Miles E of Canton
About 12 Miles S of Grand Saline
About 25 Miles SW of Mineola
Population: 2,673 (2010) 2,362 (2000)

Van, Texas Area Hotels > Canton Hotels
Van Tx - Pure Gas Station Mural
Pure Gas Station Mural
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, November 2010
See Texas Gas Stations | Texas Murals

History in a Pecan Shell

First settled in the mid 1860s, the town was originally known as Ratty Town after a man with that unfortunate name (Ratty Towns) who opened the first store. Other sources say that it also went under the name Who'd-a-Thought-It, Texas.

But it is pretty much agreed that the later name of Swindall, Texas was legitimate. It was named to honor George Swindall, who donated land for a church and school.

Still, the present name didnít comer about until the mid 1890s when it was named for not one, but two citizens. (Henry Vance, first post master and citizen Vannie Tunnell.)

In 1927 the Pure Oil company made a survey just outside of town which pointed the way to the discovery of oil on land owned by W. T. Jarman. This October 1929 discovery led to a boom Ė just as the Great Depression was getting underway.

Virtually overnight, the sleepy community exploded with construction. Pure Oil remained the dominant company, but soon Sun Oil Company, Texas Oil Company (Texaco) and Humble entered the fray, becoming co-owners with Pure. This boom led to extending the railroad (the Texas Short Line Railway) from Grand Saline in 1930.

The population remained at just under 1,000 residents throughout the 1930s, but declined to just over 600 during the Second World War when men were drawn from the population to fill critical war-related positions.

In the 1940s, the oilfield was mechanized. Pure merged with Union Oil in the mid 1960s when the population of Van was 1,103. By the mid 1970s it had increased to 1,820. Proximity to Canton curtailed further growth, but Van crossed the 2,000 mark with 2,362 residents for the 2000 census.
Van Tx - Oil Well
Oil Well in Van
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, November 2010
Van Tx School
Van School
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, November 2010
See Texas Schoolhouses
Van Tx Town Mural
Van, Texas (established 1893) Town Mural
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, November 2010
Van, Texas
Area Destinations:

Canton
Grand Saline
Mineola
Book Hotels:
Canton Hotels
More Texas Towns & Hotels:
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North Texas
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