a Pecan Shell
Named for George
Eaton Cranfill, one of earliest settlers in the area - the Gap
refers to a break in a mountain separating Bosque
Settlement dates to Cranfill's arrival around 1851 but the town didn't
get started until 1879, when a post office that had been in Hamilton
County was moved across the county line into Cranfills Gap.
By 1890 the town was thriving with two doctors, stores, a blacksmith's
forge, and saloon. St. Olaf's - a Norwegian Lutheran church was built
nearby in 1886 and remains standing today.
The town never got a railroad, despite a slight move in 1913 to insure
a connection with the outside world. The high water mark for population
occurred in 1940 when 600 people called the Gap home.
In 1980, the census reported 341 citizens and it has since declined
to less than 300.
( 402 Meridian St, Cranfills Gap)
St. Olaf Lutheran
Following the settlement
of Norwegian Immigrants in Bosque
County in 1854, Lutheranism became the predominant denomination
in the region. In 1886, St. Olaf Kirke, named after the patron saint
of Norway, was built to address the worshiping practices of the expanding
population. Affectionately called “Old
Rock Church,” it was the center of social gatherings for more
than 50 years where good food, fellowship and games were enjoyed by
all. On January 10, 1914, the members voted to purchase a full city
block of land to build a new church for their growing congregation.
The cornerstone of the new “Brick Church” was placed in march of 1917.
The Romanesque revival-style building included a sanctuary with a
balcony and a half basement, which was a point of pride for the congregation.
In 1917, St. Olaf Lutheran Church was described as the “costliest
and largest” Lutheran Church in Bosque
county and in rural Texas. Through the fundraising efforts of
the women’s organization many enhancements were added to the church.
The “Brick Church” services were conducted in Norwegian until 1927
and continued at “The
Rock Church” for the older members until the 1940s. The St. Olaf
Church Sunday School was built for religious instruction in 1954.
The church has provided for the needs of its membership and the community,
as well as missions in other countries as it seeks to fulfill its
mission. St. Olaf Lutheran Church continues to maintain its Norwegian
heritage and serve as the heart of the community.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Photo courtesy Ernie
Cranfills Gap, take CR 4145 about 4 miles east to The
Old Rock Church and cemetery, and a short drive to Norse
My great grandmother was Louise Cranfill. My grandmother Ella Francene
James married the late Kenneth James and she currently resides in
Lubbock, TX. They had 3 daughters who had 8 children altogether.
I am one of those children. I have visited Cranfills Gap and recently
learned of my family's history here. I'd like to ask my grandmother
(Francene) if she has any pictures of Louise. I've heard many stories
of her and I remember seeing pictures of me as a baby in her lap.
Just thought I'd share that. I saw the inquiry for pictures of her
in one of your posts. Thanks, Grace McGinnis, January 12, 2019
Louise Cranfill, Daughter of George Eaton Cranfill
My husband's greatgrandmother, Louise Cranfill, was born in Cranfill's
Gap, daughter of George Eaton Cranfill. Do you have any pictures
of George Eaton Cranfill's family? Louise married James Henry Woodman.
My husband's grandmother was Ida May Woodman Roberts. She died at
age 28. We know of no existing pictures of her. If you have any
of the early pictures of Cranfill's Gap, we would be so appreciative
to have copies. Thanks for any pictures, stories, history, articles
from old newspapers or a source for these items. - Barbara A. Roberts,
February 17, 2006
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and vintage/historic or recent photos, please contact