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Shelby County TX
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TENAHA, TEXAS

Shelby County, East Texas

3156'39"N 9414'47"W (31.944062, -94.246274)

US 59/84, and 96
11 miles N of Center the county seat
4 miles E of Bobo
10 miles E of Timpson
16 miles S of Carthage
39 miles NE of Nacogdoches
ZIP code 75974
Area code 936
Population: 1,146 Est. (2019)
1,160 (2010) 1,046 (2000) 1,072 (1990)

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Tenaha, Texas - street scene
Tenaha street scene - Postmarked Oct 1911
Courtesy The Will Beauchamp Collection

History in a Pecan Shell

Founded as a shipping point on the Houston, East and West Texas Railway in 1885, the community was named for Tenehaw Municipality, the original name of Shelby County.

A post office was granted in 1886 and by 1890 the population was 200. By 1896 it was publishing it's own weekly newspaper and had become a major shipping center for lumber and produce. The population had increased to 680.

Lumber-manufacturing and a large canning operation bolstered the local economy through the 40s and 50s. Toledo Bend Reservoir and the fishermen that it attracts are now a permanent economic mainstay.

Teneha TX Downtown
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, December 2012


Teneha TX - City Hall
Teneha City Hall
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, December 2012


A ghost staircase in Tenaha, Texas
A ghost staircase
TE Photo, July 2001


Loop 168 marker, shortest highway in Texas
Marker for Loop 168,
the shortest highway in Texas
(395 feet long)
TE Photo, July 2001
See Texas Drives



Tenaha Texaswelcome sign showing "Tehaha, Timpson, Bobo and Blair"
Tenaha Welcome Sign
TE Photo, July 2001

Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair

by Archie P. McDonald, PhD

Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair are communities in Shelby County whose names were appropriated for a plea by crapshooters for good luck when seeking to roll double fives. Similarly, dice throwers hoping for an "eight" would sing out, "Eighter from Decatur, the County Seat of Wise." Later the alliteration in the sing-song phrase "Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair" helped a folk song recorded by Tex Ritter popular.

How did the communities become involved with dice and popular music? ... more



Tenaha TX Time Capsule
Tenaha Time Capsule
TE Photo, July 2001

Teneha TX Water Tower1
Teneha Water Tower
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2012

More Texas Water Towers

Take a road trip

East Texas

Teneha, Texas Nearby Towns:
Center the county seat
Carthage | Nacogdoches
See Shelby County

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