This is the seventh article of the ghost town series. Previous articles can be found below:
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Tom Green County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Coke and Sterling County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Concho and Schleicher County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Kimble County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Mason County
- Ghost towns of the Concho Valley: Crockett and Sutton County
(KLST/KSAN) 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 is the most a state has.
McCulloch County is home to a total of 10 ghost towns.
Calf Creek, Texas
Calf Creek is located on Farm Road 1311 just twelve miles southwest of Brady in southwestern McCulloch County. Since the town’s start, it has had three names and three locations according to the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Deland, the first community, was located two miles south of the present Calf Creek Community. Deland was named after a family who moved to the area from Kansas in 1874.
In 1898 the Calf Creek school had one teacher and 23 students. Shortly after Methodist and Baptist churches were organized in 1903. From 1906 to 1909 the Deland post office was running. A new post office called Tucker, in honor of a local store owner Lum Tucker, shifted the communities focus just a mile north of Deland. Tucker post office was operational from 1906 to 1909 when the community moved to its present location.
In the time the community lived in Tucker, a cotton gin, blacksmith, general store and grocery store opened its doors in 1914. In 1915, the community moved a mile north to what is no present-day Calf Creek. The post office name was changed to Calf Creek. A new school was built in 1921 and enrolled 100 students according to TSHA.
The population gradually declined, causing Calf Creek school to consolidate with Brady schools in 9149. The post office ran until 1953 when it was discontinued. By 1949 Calf Creek was home to 50 residents and two businesses. In 1990 the reported population was 23 people according to TSHA. The population had remained at 23 people in 2000.
Camp San Saba, Texas
Camp San Saba is located in southeastern McCulloch County just 10 miles southeast of Brady on Farm Road 1955. Settlers who came to the area in the 1860s were not the first to occupy the region according to the TSHA. Due to frequent attacks from the Comanche, Texas Rangers were stationed in the area in the mid-1850s to protect settlers. TSHA says that the community supposedly took the name Camp San Saba from the ranger camp.
Camp San Saba was the main settlement in McCulloch County until Brady won the county seat in 1876. A post office was opened in Camp San Saba in 1876 but was discontinued after the 1930s. The community had a district school, three stores and three churches with a population of 250 people TSHA shares.
When the railroad increased Brady’s importance as a shipping point, the community of Camp San Saba began to decline. In 1925 the population was 180 people. By 1939 the population declined to 50. In 1990 and 2000 the population was a reported 36.
Located in northwestern McCulloch County just 24 miles northwest of Brady is the community of Doole. The ranching community called Gansel had developed around Crossroad Schools. This occurred when they moved to the area from Fort Concho in 1908 according to TSHA.
In 1910 a cotton gin and five stores had been built in the community. The post office followed these businesses in 1911 when residents went to Brady postmaster David Doole Jr. for advice. Since Gansel was unacceptable to the postal service, the post office named the post office Doole for his assistance to the community says TSHA.
The population grew from a reported 25 people in 1914 to 250 people in the 1940s. During the 1940s a school, church and ten other businesses were built.
Following World War II the population of Doole began to decline. In the mid-1960s the population had dropped to 40. A reported 74 people still lived in doole from 1970 to 1990 according to TSHA.
East Sweden, Texas
East Sweden is a community located off of U.S. Highway 190, five and a half miles northeast of Brady. East Sweden, also known as New Sweden or Sweden, began its journey when Swen Leander Hurd, Carl August Johnson, and Daniel August Hurd of Round Rock inspected land in McCulloch County in 1885 according to TSHA. Each person purchased half a section of land.
In the fall of 1886, Swen L. Hurd moved his family to the new settlement. By 1888 four other families arrived. Other immigrants from Sweden continued to travel to the area in 1889. During this time there were about 63 residents and 12 households reported TSHA. Wood was brought in from Brownwood on a wagon by A.M. Sanquest, a carpenter, and C.G. Thornbloom, a stoneman to help build homes.
Thornbloom also held Lutheran Sunday services in homes or under trees during the summer since there was an absence of a regular minister. TSHA says that J.A. Irvine, a Presbyterian minister from Mason, would hold services in Sweden once or twice a month. By 1891 the Presbyterian church was organized by Reverend Irvine and Dr. W.G, Little of Denison since the group decided no Lutheran minister would join the settlement.
TSHA shares landowners Swen Hurd, Carl C. Johanson, Carl Johnson, and C. G. Olson donated an acre of land for the church, school and the East Sweden Cemetery where most of the settlers were buried in 1892.
In 1903 the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway was built west of East Sweden and the Santa Fe built theirs east of the town in 1912.
According to TSHA, Reverand Ernest Severin started a Swedish town named West Sweden west of Brady that had a Methodist church and Hanson School. Both East and West Sweden existed as settlements together until West Sweden disappeared.
The East Sweden church was destroyed by the wind on June 14, 1916, says TSHA, but it was rebuilt in 1920. A fire also destroyed the three-room wooden school building in 1933. The school was rebuilt in 1934 though it was later consolidated with the Rochelle Independent School District.
Two dairy farms operated in the community since cattle and sheep were raised locally. Cotton, wheat and oats would soon take over as settlers’ primary cash crop. A cotton gin owned by Swen L. Hurd that was in the area was moved to Salt Gap.
TSHA reports that a monument listing the names of early Swedish settlers stands east of the schoolhouse. In May 1976 residents buried a time capsule just south of the monument that was dedicated in 1973. TSHA also shares that a historical marker was placed at the East Sweden Presbyterian Church in1989.
An annual homecoming in August brings about 100 people to the townsite according to TSHA.
The community of Marco is located on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway near the Concho county line in western McCulloch County. TSHA reports that 20 residents and one business made up the community in 1939. In 1987 the community did not appear on the county highway maps.
Pear Valley, Texas
Pear Valley is located in northwestern McCulloch County on Farm Road 504, 16 miles northwest of Brady. In 1908 the community of Saddle Creek began, though is was a widely scattered settlement. The post office opened in 1910 under the name of Pear Valley according to TSHA.
The population of Pear Valley remained table at 45 residents from the 1930s o the 1960s. However, by 1964 the population fell to 20. TSHA reports that two churches and two businesses appeared on the county highway map in 1987. In 1990 the town of Pear Valley reported 37 residents. The population of the town remained the same in 2000.
Salt Gap, Texas
Located on Farm roads 503 and 504 in western McCulloch County is a community named Salt Gap, named for nearby Salt Creek. The TSHA reports that the first post office operated in the community from 1905 to 1913 and again from 1924 till the 1930s.
During the 1930s the community of Salt Gap had a gristmill, two stores, a gin and a school. The highest population that the town reported was 60 residents in 1939. TSHA says that the town had a population of 25 in 1990 and 2000.
Waldrip is an unincorporated rural community that is located in north McCulloch County one mile south of the Colorado River. TSHA says that the site of Waldrip was a part of Waldrip’s Ranch that originated in 1876.
The post office opened in 1879. The town of Waldrip had thirty residents, a school and a church in 1884. The community continued to grow in the 1890s as more families came to the area to grow cotton. With the growth, more gins were built near the town. However, some of them burned and others moved to other towns.
West Sweden, Texas
West Sweden was settled by a Swedish minister from Austin, just eight miles northwest of Brady. TSHA shares that Ernest Severin founded the community in 1905 after bringing several Swedish families from Williams and Travis counties.
Since another community that was five miles east of Brady took the name of Sweden, also known as East Sweden, the community took the name West Sweden. A school and several scattered houses made the community of West Sweden on the 1948 county highway maps said TSHA. These marks disappeared by the 1980s.
Ten miles west of Brady in western McCulloch County, the community of Whiteland was settled. This community served as a stop on the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway when it was built through the area in 1911.
TSHA reports that the White family donated land for a settlement to be created. By 1912 the post office had opened. In 1914 the Whiteland community had 50 residents and a general store. TSHA shares that the population of the town had increased to 125 people by the mid-1920s but declined to 40 in 1943.
By the mid-1950s the post office was discontinued. Whiteland reported having one business and 40 residents in 1988.