This is the second article of the ghost town series. More articles can be found below:
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Tom Green County
- Ghost Towns of the Concho Valley: Concho and Schleicher County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Mason County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Crockett and Sutton County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: McCulloch County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Kimble County
SAN ANGELO, Texas – Everything is bigger and better in Texas, including the number of ghost towns. According to Texas Highways, the Lone Star State is home to 511 ghost towns which happens to be the most a state has.
Of these ghost towns, Sterling County and Coke County are home to a total number of six.
Located in Sterling County just 10 miles southeast of Sterling City on U.S. Highway 87 laid Broome. This small town was founded in 1924 as a station on the Pandhandle and Santa Fe Railway according to the Texas Almanac.
Broome received its name after an early rancher C.A. Broome.
In 1939 the community post office was discontinued. But 1947, the population had a combination store and filling station for its population of 25 people. In 1980 the population was 18, however, no population figure was reported in 1990.
In 1890 the townsite of Cummins, located a mile east of Sterling City, was donated by R.C. Stewart. The land was surveyed and platted by H.B. Tarver in February of that year. The Historical Marker for the town says Cummins began to grow around a saddle and harness shop owned by one of the earliest settlers, Robert Benjamin Cummins.
In 1891, both Sterling City and Cummins began their fight for the designation of the county seat after Sterling County was created from Tom Green County.
The election for the county seat was dismissed for technical reasons, resulting in a tie. The second election took place on July 7, 1891, a second election took place where Sterling City won by a 13-vote margin.
Most residents moved to Sterling City by the end of 1891, leaving behind the school and many businesses.
Edith, a once flourishing settlement, is located in Coke County just 9 miles west of Robert Lee. Cattleman and stock farmers began to settle the area in 1880 according to the Texas Almanac.
Stores such as a blacksmith shop, store, gin, lodge hall, and church were soon established in the town along with a post office named after Edith Bonsall of Ballinger in February of 1890. Three rural schools were also built in the area.
Due to economic changes in the twentieth century and being close to the county seat, Robert Lee, the town of Edith had a hard time growing in population.
By 1955 the post office had closed and was soon abandoned in the 1970s.
Fort Chadbourne, Texas
Following the Civil War, settlers soon established a new town four miles to the southwest of the original location. In October 1879, the Fort Chadbourne post office was reinstated. The post office would remain open as the community moved again in 1910 a mile east to a new town site donated by W.D. McDonald when the Kansas City, Mexico, and Orient were built through the county.
The new location was home to a newspaper, store, school, two churches, gin, hotel, and bank with a population of 65 in 1917.
By 1940 the town was down to a population of 50 with only two businesses. The school was consolidated with Bronte and the post office officially closed shortly after in 1942.
Fort Chadbourne can be visited today from Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located in southeastern Coke County, the once county seat Hayrick began its journey in 1887 with a population of 25 people and a post office. The Handbook of Texas shares that the town got its name from Hayrick Moutain, a mountain that looked like a hay mound.
Hayrick served as the county seat until 1891 when Robert Lee won the designation of the county seat. Following the election, a majority of the population moved to Robert Lee.
During this time, many people from the south area of Coke County were opposed to Hayrick being the county seat. Consequently, two of the courthouses were destroyed by what the Handbook of Texas calls fire-possible arson right before Rober Lee won the designation by 48 votes. The vote total was nearly 400.
Named after Comanche chief Sanaco, the town of Sanco is located in central Coke County.
In the 1880s ranchers began to settle the area. J.L Durham opened the post office in 1888 in his rock home. The church and school were both combined into a meetinghouse and a general store was established shortly after. However, the town relocated to flatter ground and closer to water in 1907 according to the Handbook of Texas.
A Methodist church was soon built and the land was donated by Ulmer Bird for a school. Sanco’s cotton gin opened in 1905 and flourished until drought, boll weevil and low prices caused cotton farming to end in the area in the 1920s.
The Handbook of Texas says that the improvement of rural roads during the 1940s and 1950s was the final blow to the town’s economy. By 1970 the post office was discontinued and the population dropped to thirty.