The Bartlett landscape with water tower seen in the distance.
Photo courtesy Genevieve
B. Shockley, April 2006
a Pecan Shell
Bartlett was officially
formed when the Katy Railroad started their survey in 1881. Earlier
settlers had been living in the area for the 30 previous years.
One J. E. Pietzsch donated land for the townsite although it was actually
named after John T. Bartlett. Lots were sold in 1881 and the railroad
reached the town the following year. There were two stores in operation
by the time the railroad arrived and the post office opened in 1882.
The population was around 300 in '84 and the town was established
as a shipping point for cotton.
There was also a cotton gin, hotel, grocer, butcher and school.
Bartlett incorporated in 1890 when it was a thriving town with two
weekly newspapers and a bank.
outgrew its second school building and plans were made for a new building
to be built at the same location. When the time came to begin construction
on the new building, the old building first had to be moved. The contract
was let to move the old school to the southwest corner of the block
so that work could begin on the new building and classes could continue.
The architect for the building was A. O. Watson of Austin, and a local
contractor, Flick and Son, won the bid to build the school.
The building, which was actually Bartlett’s third school building,
was completed in 1909 at a total cost of around $21,000. It was located
on a full city block and centered diagonally on that block. It featured
ten rooms, three offices, and an auditorium. It housed all grades
from 1909 until 1917, the elementary grades from 1917 through 1966,
and the primary grades from 1966 until 1988.
The doors of our building opened for classes the first time on September
13, 1909. Enrollment on opening day was 250 students and the faculty.
courtesy Bartlett Activites Center
railroad running from Bartlett to Florence
was charted in 1909. The logical name of Bartlett-Florence Railway
Company was changed to the Bartlett
Being the eastern terminus of this busy shortline railroad only added
to Bartlett's prestige and economy. In 1914 the town reached its population
zenith of 2,200 citizens. The town had two railroads, three banks,
three gins and four churches.
The decline of
cotton in the 20s and 30s, forced
the railroad into bankruptcy in 1935.
1931 Bartlett had 1,873 people with nearly 100 businesses. With the
Great Depression, the town lost 25% of its businesses although the
population loss was a mere 10%. It reached a low of 1,556 in 1988
and has increased slowly to the present 1,623.
An eagle on the former Bartlett Bank
by John Troesser,
The First National Bank Building in downtown Bartlett.
Note the elevated downspout just to the left of center.
B. Shockley, April 2006
More Texas Banks
"I grew up in Holland, Texas and remember seeing this same type
of doorway plate on the older buildings there, as well. This type
of doorway plate is on many of the Bartlett buildings." - Genevieve
(and wide) commercial strip of buildings built during its heyday
has made it a natural for shooting movies. Stars Fell on Henrietta,
The Newton Boys, and The Whole Wide World (based on the
short life of Texas author Robert
Howard) were shot in Bartlett as well as several of the familiar
Star Fell on Henrietta
The Newton Boys
The Whole Wide World
Old Red Brick School First Annual Event
My husband Paul and I wanted to give Texas Escapes and its readers
an update on the restoration
of Bartlett's old red brick school.
We joined the BAC with the idea of starting an annual festival/benefit
to help fund the continued renovation of the school. We are having
our first fundraiser on June 24th from 3 to 8 pm with musical entertainment,
a dance, silent auction and art displays. We will also have a coloring
contest for the kids (what if the school was any color you wanted
it?), face painting and snow cones.
We are hoping to draw in crowds, but are mainly interested in getting
the "new" Bartlett and "old" Bartlett residents interested in their
city again. Hopefully we will get volunteers that will be interested
in hosting a much bigger event next year. We hope to attract more
local artists to use the auditorium for concerts and maybe even
get a community theatre started. By the way, almost all of Barlett's
downtown buildings have been bought and now house antique stores
and a coffee shop soon. It went from nearly extinct to thriving!
Thanks for such a wonderful [magazine]. - Cindi and Paul Reaka,
Bartlett, Texas, June 12, 2006
I remember Bartlett
...I remember taking my shoes off, walking near the tracks, and
feeling the exhilaration and excitement of laying out pennies to
be squished. When we got home, my feet were black, and my cheeks
were bright red from the heat... more
- Carolyn Ripper, May 07, 2006
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