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 Texas : Towns A-Z / East Texas : Malakoff

MALAKOFF, TEXAS

Henderson County, East Texas
On Hwy 31
8 Miles West of Athens
27 miles East of Corsicana
80 miles SE of Dallas

Population: 2323 ( 2007est.) 2,257 (2000)

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Malakoff Texas grandstand tiger mural by Charlie Bullock
The Malakoff Mascot in 3-D - Mural by Charlie Bullock
Photo courtesy Byron Browne, April 2009

History in a Pecan Shell

Malakoff joins Odessa, Moscow and Sebastopol on the list of towns in Texas named after places in the former Soviet Union.

Like many Texas towns, Malakoff started out under a different name. Actually two. Caney Creek (whose name is still found just north of town) and Mitcham Chapel. In 1854, the town applied for a post office under the name Mitcham or Purdon, but both of these names were already in use by other communities. According to the Handbook of Texas, it was postal authorities in Washington that suggested Malakoff.

The British capture of the towered Russian fort at Malakoff in the Crimean War had been in the news about the time the application was submitted, and the suggested name was submitted - and accepted.

Malakoff presently enjoys its peak population of around 2,300 people.

mural of middle school with Dr. Pepper sign
Detail of Malakoff Junior High School Mural by Charlie Bullock
TE Photo

"Malakoff Man", Coal, Clay & Brick

In the 1930s, three crudely carved stone heads were unearthed in the region. Collectively they became known as "Malakoff Man." Extensive excavations around the site did not yield additional artifacts and their origin remains a mystery to this day.

But the soil around Malacoff had been revealing other things for years. Lignite coal had been discovered in 1912 and mining soon became the dominant industry in Henderson County. Texas Power and Light built a generating station close to the source and as many as 600 miners worked the veins of coal. The mines closed in 1945 but there has been a Miner's Reunion held every five years since.

Clay provided the material for the county's other main industry: brick production. Ironically, most of downtown Malakoff was built prior to the brick plant's construction but two huge kilns remain today and production continues under the name of Acme. Bricks found around the state marked MALAKOFF are usually light-colored.

In 1904 Mr. Thomas Anthony Bartlett of Malakoff devised a way of coloring brick, touching off a new age of architectural elegance. He took his discovery to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and won a Blue Ribbon for his white brick.

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Mural featuring residence in Malakoff Texas
Mural on Cornbread Square by Brad Smith
TE Photo
Texas tiger mural
Malakoff Junior High School Mural
by Charlie Bullock
TE Photo
Murals by Charlie Bullock and Brad Smith

Malakoff has several exceptional murals. Artist Charlie Bullock maintains a gallery in nearby Athens and teaches art classes in a private school there.

Brad Smith's mural (pictured at the beginning of this page) above faces Malakoff's Cornbread Square. Individuals in the mural are painted from actual townspeople. Smith also painted the mural of the former Carnegie Library shown on our Corsicana page.

See Charlie Bullock: “Art’s a luxury” by Byron Browne

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Malakoff Event

The Square is where Malakoff's Cornbread Festival is held every year. Although only eight miles from Athens and their famous Black-Eye Pea Festival, Malakoff serves pinto beans with their cornbread.

Nearby Destinations
Hwy 31 east 8 miles to Athens.
Hwy 31 west 13 miles to Kerens, another 14 miles to Corsicana.

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This page last modified: May 27, 2009