Situated on the railroad
tracks parallel to Hempstead Highway and US290, Satsuma is north of Eldridge and
south of Highway 6. I remembered an old railroad
building that was about six feet in diameter with SATSUMA painted in black. Upon
reaching that stretch of tracks I found it had been removed. - Ken
Rudine, May 2010
in a Pecan ShellThe
community dates from 1910 when developer J. T. Thompson platted a townsite alongside
the tracks of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
Thompson was president
of the Satsuma Land Company. The name of the company was taken from (to be installed)
satsuma orange groves.
In 1913 C. W. Hahl, a man who envisioned even bigger
things, bought the site from Thompson, replatted the town (but kept the beckoning
name) and started selling lots.
Buyers were scarce. A post office opened
in 1909 but was closed by 1914. The community reportedly had a single store that
year – with no population estimates available.
Satsuma did become a shipping
point on the railroad, but
(according to the Handbook of Texas) “never developed as a town.” A Harris County
map from the 1980s included the townsite along with a chapel and an abandoned
railroad section house.
Harris County map showing Satsuma (between 'H' & "A' in 'HARRIS')|
courtesy Texas General Land Office
| The "Lost" Towns
of NW Harris County:|
Kohrville | Louetta
| North Houston | Satsuma
these are ghost towns, why are there so many people here?
they now only exist as sign names at large intersections (Barker-Cypress, Bammel-North
Houston, Aldine-Bender, Alief-Clodine, et. al.). It may surprise non-natives that
all of these names once represented once struggling or proudly self-sufficient
towns. Even the inside-the-loop street of Crosstimbers was once a separate town.
most people associate ghost towns
with ruins and desolation - these ghosts live among us. Were aisles seven and
eight at your local HEB once a syrup mill? Was Radio Shack once a livery stable?
Best Buy a cornfield or cotton gin?
Are there unmarked graves under the
floor of your favorite Mexican restaurant?
The short answer is this: In
many cases these villages were already ghost towns - or so close to being ghost
towns that you could hardly tell the difference. Most had their life-blood drained
from them after WWII with
the migration of rural families to Houston.
The phenomenon was statewide. Dallas
and Ft. Worth have their fair
share of postwar "absorbed" ghost towns - as do smaller cities.
City" happened. The relentless march of strip centers, subdivisions and gated
communities overtook these former towns until only the names and cemeteries remained.
the subject is worthy of further investigation (exactly where is the Lily White
cemetery behind Memorial City Shopping Center?), we're happy to include this topic,
made possible by generous grant of time, sweat and reseach by the Team
Minutes of Separation"
May 12, 2010 column