Mills County has rich history among the different communities that comprise the county. Continue reading to learn more about these communities.
Goldthwaite, Texas Goldthwaite, is the county seat of Mills County, located at the junctions of U.S. highways 84, 183, State Highway 16, and Farm roads 574 and 572, in the heart of the county. The town was once a part of southern Brown County in 1885, with the coming of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, and was named for Joe G. Goldthwaite, the railroad official who conducted the auction of town lots. The post office opened in 1886. After Mills County was organized the following year, a number of landowners donated town site property in exchange for assurances that Goldthwaite would be selected county seat. A county courthouse was completed in 1890; the first county jail, constructed in 1888, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Santa Fe built shops and a roundhouse switch, intending Goldthwaite as a division point, but after labor problems in the town the railroad moved its shops to Brownwood. Even without the railroad, the town flourished. By 1898 it had a population of 1,200, three churches, one bank, a number of hotels and boardinghouses, two cotton gins, two gristmills, a public and a private school, many stores, and two weekly newspapers, the Eagle and the Mountaineer. The 1905 meeting of the Confederate Reunion, a major annual social event, was the largest public gathering in Mills County history.
The courthouse burned in 1912 and was replaced with a brick structure the following year. The county's first school library was established in 1915, the same year construction began on Lake Merritt, seven miles from town. By 1928 Goldthwaite had 2,800 residents and ninety-five businesses. The population fell to 1,324 by 1931, due to drought and economic hard times, and the number of businesses declined to fifty-five by 1933. After the depression years, recovery was modest in Goldthwaite, but agricultural diversification provided prosperity. In 1988 the town's economy was based on wool, mohair, cattle, sheep, pecans, grains, and the production of farm equipment.
Goldthwaite has an estimated population of 1800 with many accommodations. 9-hole municipal Golf Course, a city park, swimming pool, a library with full service which includes internet access, nursing homes, medical services, retail shops, restaurants, motels, RV parks, churches, and banking facilities.
The City has 95% of its streets paved, has a 2% city sales tax, and offers some of the lowest utility rates in the State. The City has no property tax. Goldthwaite has low labor costs, low cost of living and low property cost.
Goldthwaite Independent School District is a Class 1A school and it features a State Championship Football team 1985, 1993, 1994, and 2009. They also excel in band, basketball, track, tennis, golf, and baseball.
Mullin, Texas Mullin, on Mullin Creek, U.S. Highway 84/183, Farm Road 573, and the Santa Fe line, ten miles north of Goldthwaite in west central Mills County, became a town site with the construction of the Santa Fe track through the area in the late 1880s. Both the creek and the town were named for a pioneer family. Among the first businesses in the area were a saloon and a hotel in 1885. Dr. WD Kirkpatrick donated the town site in return for the construction of the railroad through the area. The population of Mullin was 100 in 1890; in 1894 the first permanent schoolhouse was built. A gristmill and cotton gin were among the early businesses. By 1910 the town had three churches, a bank, a weekly newspaper named the Enterprise, and 750 residents. The population fell to 558 by 1920 and 404 by 1947. In 1958 there were only two stores left in the community.
Priddy, Texas Priddy, on State Highway 16 and Farm Road 218 in northeast Mills County, was named for Thomas Jefferson Priddy, a pioneer Baptist preacher and Texas Ranger. The first homes in the community were built in the early 1880s, primarily by German settlers. Priddy became the first postmaster in 1892. Growth was slow, and in 1910 the community had a store, a gin, and a population of sixty. The population was 170 in 1930, 150 in 1947, and 215 in 1980 and 1990.
Star, Texas Star is on U.S. Highway 84, Farm Road 1047, and North Simms Creek, near the Hamilton county line in east central Mills County. It was laid out by Alec Street in the mid-1880s and named for nearby Star Mountain. Calvin Skinner was the first postmaster when Star was granted a post office in 1886, and Alec Street ran a store and a gin. Star had a school in its early days but did not build a permanent church until 1905, when the town reached the zenith of its prosperity. A bank, established in 1910, closed after a robbery in the 1920s. In 1944, Star had eight businesses and a population of 171. The population in 1980 and 1990 was eighty-five.
Caradan, Texas Caradan is nine miles northeast of Goldthwaite in northeastern Mills County. It was established in the 1880s and named for two pioneer settlers, Samuel Losson Caraway and Dan T. Bush. In 1889 the community of fifteen was granted a post office. Development was slow. In 1930 the community had twenty-nine residents and five businesses. In 1950 Caradan had two businesses and seventy-five residents. In 1970 the population had declined to eighteen, and the community still supported one business. In 1974 the post office was discontinued. The population was twenty in 1990.
Bozar, Texas Bozar was on U.S. Highway 183 midway between Mullin and Goldthwaite in northern Mills County. As late as 1936 it was a one-store ranching community with a station on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway.
Center City, Texas Center City, on U.S. Highway 84 north of Bennett Creek in eastern Mills County, was settled about 1870. When the county was organized, the town site was laid out with a large area in the center designated as the site for the new courthouse. Built around this square were various businesses, including several saloons, several dry goods stores, two blacksmith shops, a general store, and a drugstore. But Goldthwaite became the county seat. By 1874 Center City had a post office, a gristmill, and a school.
After a survey in the early 1870's designated an ancient live oak standing in the town as the exact center of Texas, the name of the town, which had previously been Hughes Store, was changed to Center City. Controversy was to break out when the tree was later threatened with removal by construction of State Highway 7 (now U.S. 84). Citizens won out, and in 2003 the live oak was still standing fifty feet south of the highway in the middle of a dirt road between Goldthwaite and Evant. The tree is included in Famous Trees of Texas (1970, 1984). Although the tree's exact age is unknown, early settlers were said to have held justice court under its branches until a courtroom could be erected. Early school and church services were held there also.
By 1880, Center City had a church, and in 1885 the community reported a population of 100. In 1910 it had three churches. By 1920 Center City's post office had been replaced by rural delivery from Goldthwaite. In the late 1940s Center City reported three stores and an estimated population of seventy-five. From 1970 through 2003 the community reported a population of fifteen. In 2003, Center City had two churches and a single business, a combination hardware store and gas station.
Scallorn, Texas Scallorn is on a frontage road off U.S. Highway 183 in far southern Mills County. It was established as a shipping point on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway in 1888 and was named for Gid Scallorn, foreman of the Ware Ranch. A post office opened there in 1918 but was replaced by rural delivery from Lometa in 1932. In 1947 the one-store community reported a population of twenty-five, and in 1949 its railroad station was abandoned. No later population figures were available, though a church remained at the site for some time.
Ebony, Texas Ebony is twenty-three miles west of Goldthwaite in extreme western Mills County. The community, originally named Buffalo, was settled in the 1880s. In 1891, when residents applied for a post office, the name Buffalo was rejected. The town was then renamed Ebony, for Ebony Shaw, a local cowboy. Its post office opened on January 5, 1891, with Victoria Griffin as postmistress. Ebony grew to thirty-five residents by 1910 and to 113 by 1930, when the community had two businesses. By 1940, however, its population had declined to fifty; the post office was discontinued around 1945. By the late 1950s the community was virtually abandoned. Highway maps for the early 1980s show a cemetery and a community center at Ebony.
Fun Fact: Did you know that from Mills County, it is approximately: