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Chambers County TX
Chambers County

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Chambers County, Gulf Coast / East Texas

29° 41' 34" N, 94° 37' 45" W (29.692778, -94.629167)

(Just North of) FM 1985 and FM 562
SW of Anahuac the county seat
About 50 Miles SW of Beaumont
Population: 400 (1990, 2000)

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TX - Old Double Bayou Dance Hall on Eagle Ferry Rd.

The old Double Bayou Dance Hall on Eagle Ferry Rd.
Photo courtesy Ethan Grossman, February 2018

History in a Pecan Shell

The community dates from 1847 when James Jackson started his large 26,000 acre ranch. Sometime before 1900, John Jackson opened a general store here. Ralph Semmes Jackson (grandson of James Jackson) was born in the early 1900s. Ralph was to become the author of Home on the Double Bayou, one of the best place-related memoirs of Texas.

Ralph's brother Guy Cade Jackson was to become an early conservationist and county judge.

A post office opened just before the Civil War (1860) and closed just after the war's end (1866). It reopened in the country's centennial year of 1876 but closed for good in 1919.
The lack of roads made Double Bayou inaccessible except by boat. Severe storms battered the region and thousands of cattle were lost (frozen) one brutal winter. The hurricane of 1915 devastated the area, flooding the homes of most residents yet the community remained.

Double Bayou is certainly off the beaten path but because of the heartfelt book, it has achieved a historical immortality for intimate portrayal of a unique place.

TX - Double Bayou Dance Hall  historical marker

Double Bayou Dance Hall Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Ethan Grossman, February 2018

Historical Marker (on Eagle Ferry Road off Hwy 562):

Double Bayou Dance Hall

Nestled in the thick woods and low-lying marshlands of east Texas lies the predominantly African American community of Double Bayou, named after twin waterways in the area. The community was originally settled by rancher John Jackson around 1847. Later, a local general store became the center of the community. Sugar cane, cotton and oil attracted farmers and workers to the commercial link to Galveston. After a hard day’s work, these workers, African American and Anglo, flocked to the little one-room dance hall which became known as Double Bayou Dance Hall.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s during Juneteenth, many celebrants would travel from Galveston to Double Bayou. At its inception, the dance hall was little more than cedar logs laid out as a dance floor. In 1941, a storm destroyed the structure. Using the original materials, the dance hall was rebuilt after World War II not far down the road from the original location by Manuel Rivers, Jr. (1907-1983). Despite its meager appearance, the music that poured through the windows and doors filled the woods with the rich sound of Texas Blues.

One resident of Double Bayou, Floyd “Pete” Mayes (1938-2008), grew up around the old dance hall and premiered in 1954 with his band, the Texas Houserockers. Over the next several decades, many blues legends performed at Double Bayou Dance Hall as it was a popular destination along the Chitlin’ Circuit, a group of nightclubs safe for African Americans to perform. Despite cultural and economic differences, once people entered Double Bayou Dance Hall, they shared their love of music and love of Texas Blues.

TX - Old Double Bayou Dance Hall on Eagle Ferry Rd.

Double Bayou Dance Hall
Photo courtesy Ethan Grossman, February 2018

TX Double Bayou Jackson Store

Jackson Grocery & old gas station on Eagle Ferry Rd
Photo courtesy Ethan Grossman, September 2016

TX Double Bayou Jackson grocery & old gas pumps

Jackson Gro with old gas pumps
Photo courtesy Ethan Grossman, September 2016
More Texas Gas Stations

Photographer's Note:
Subject: Double Bayou Store

I wanted to share a picture I took of an old store in Chambers County. It is located on Eagle Ferry Rd, near the community of Double Bayou.

A ferry once operated in the area known as Eagle Ferry (hence the name), but I can't find any information on where exactly it was. I did however find an article that mentioned a store in the area:

"During this era residents living around the mouth of Double Bayou utilized the Post Office and General Store located by Eagle Ferry and operated by the Gottfried Wolff family." (http://www.cchcnews.com/Infamous.pdf)

The store has a sign that says/said Jackson Grocery. It is almost directly across from the Double Bayou Community Building, which is obviously an old school building.
- Ethan Grossman, October 04, 2016

Subject: Double Bayou Ferry and Store
"The house that the ferry operator lived in is still on the property which at one time was also a country store." - Teague Landry, June 14, 2021

Double Bayou TX Chambers Co 1908 Postmark
Double Bayou TX Chambers Co 1908 Postmark
Postcard canceled with Double Bayou, TX 1908 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection

Chambers County 1907 Postal Map
1907 Chambers County Postal Map showing Double Bayou
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Texas Gulf Coast | East Texas

Double Bayou, Texas Nearby Towns:
Anahuac the county seat
Winnie | Beaumont | Houston

See Chambers County

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