a Pecan Shell
a Spanish campsite called Loma de Cometas (Hill of the Comets)
the site had the rare blessing of a natural spring-fed lake. Some
alert traveler noticed the place after the Civil War (it was even
populated with free range longhorns)
and settlement was soon in coming. First settlers in 1867 were quickly
joined by other families in the early 1870s.
Cattle raising remained the principle industry for the remaining years
of the 19th century. T. A. Coleman established his ranch on Cometa
hill in the mid 1880s. His brand appropriately resembled a moving
1885 was also the year the first Zavalla
County school was opened. The schoolhouse doubled as a church
for the congregation of the Church of Christ, Baptists and Methodists.
In the early 1890s the community received its first store, which later
housed the post office. Sometime around 1900 the community laid out
a plot for the Vivian Cemetery.
The post office appeared in 1905 and the available water made irrigation
possible. Although they had bumper crops of watermelons, tomatoes
and pumpkins, without a railroad the farmers lost much of their crops
to spoilage before it could be carted to market.
In the early 1900s the inventor Thomas Edison contracted with local
farmers to raise experiment crops. The water was insurance against
drought and area ranchers invested in purebred stock, including poultry,
cattle and swine.
But after WWI, Cometa
started to decline. In 1919 the post office was discontinued and within
a few years, the general store closed its doors.
But thanks to the regions water, farmers continued to grow bountiful
crops which were generously donated to people coming down from northern
states during the Great Depression.
In 1942 the school closed. And by the end of WWII,
the population was hovering at 100 residents spread over a wide area.
The water table began falling and what had been the lifeblood of the
community was fast drying up. By the late 1980s most residents had
moved. Today only ten people represent Cometa. The most noticeable
proof of a substantial past is the Vivian Cemetery.
County 1907 postal map showing Cometa
From Texas state map #2090
Texas General Land Office
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