Photo courtesy Steve Johnson, May 2007
in a Pecan Shell|
Once known as Windmill Town, Merkel
came into existence with the arrival of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. It was
properly named after early settler S. M. Merkel in 1881. The towns first store
opened in 1882 and a post office opened in June of 1883.
By 1885 there
were 25 people calling Merkel home but five years later this number had increased
to 400. Merkel's population was served by a Methodist church (1882), a Baptist
Church (1885), Grace Presbyterian Church (1886) and the Church of Christ (1903).
Church in Merkel
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2004
first students were taught by Mrs. A. M. Thorntonin in the railroad depot before
a proper school was constructed in 1887. In 1887 a college was opened but it closed
after a short four years of operation. Merkels population reached 600 by 1897.
In 1890 the Merkel Mail was first published. Merkel incorporated in
1906 with G. W. Johnson serving as the town's first mayor. The Farmers and Merchants
National Bank was organized in 1904.
Dr. Robert Grimes opened the town's
first hospital in 1926 which remained in service until the 1960s. While agriculture
was the town's first economic engine - it has shifted over the years to include
oil-related employment and work at the nearby Dyess Air Force Base.
has maintained a healthy population over the years - never having suffered a serious
decline. From 1,800 in 1933, to 2,000 in 1940, and 2,300 by 1950.
former Farmers and Merchants National Bank downtown|
Photo courtesy Steve Johnson,
Roger T. Moore|| Photo courtesy|
Acre by Mike Cox
"... Always held the Saturday night before Thanksgiving,
the event makes for a double November holiday for folks who live in and around
Mulberry Canyon and its nearest town, Merkel. ..."
Your Hotel Here & Save
is the hometown of Texas Cartoonist Roger T. Moore.|
Texas" Texas History Cartoon