Photo Courtesy Noel
Kerns, January 2008
in a Pecan Shell|
Rotan began as White Flat, a town that predated the organization of
Fisher County (1886).
The town managed to hold on until 1906, when the
Texas Central Railroad decided to make the town their western terminus. The railroad
arrived the following year and when they applied for a post office, they found
the name had already been taken.
Enter Ed Rotan, major stockholder in
the railroad. The town was soon renamed in Ed’s honor, and under the new name
the town grew in importance – not just in Fisher County, but for neighboring Stonewall
and Kent counties as well.
The population was 500 by 1914 and in 1923 the
Rotan Gypsum Plant was built for the mining and processing of the abundant gypsum.
Just as the Great Depression was unleashing its fury of unemployment and foreclosures,
Rotan had over 1,600 residents and 100 businesses.
The gypsum plant was
sold to the National Gypsum Company in 1935 and eventually became one of the largest
of its kind.
The 1940 population grew to 2,029 and ten years later it reached
its zenith at 3,159.
As the rural population of Texas moved to the cities,
the population entered into a period of steady decline. The 1960, 1970 and 1980
population figures were 2,788, 2,404, and 2,284 (respectively). In 1990 the population
stood at 1,913, which has since declined to the present 1,611 (2000).
|Book Hotel Here