Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sylvester, Texas – Not quite a ghost town

In 1903 W.W. Sylvester was a promoter for the Kansas, Mexico, and Orient Railway. A rail line was being built from Sweetwater, Texas to Wichita, Kansas. 

The Compere brothers from Abilene, Texas learned of this new railroad coming and they wanted to create a town center for ranchers shipping cattle to Kansas City and aid farmers in having a way to sell their harvests. 

The Compere brothers purchased part of the AJ Ranch to build this new town. In honor of the railroad promoter this town would be named Sylvester. 

By 1905 the railroad reached Sylvester. A post office, bank, merchant shops, a cotton gin, and several other businesses opened at the promise of wealth. In 1909 the population of Sylvester reached 600. In 1927 the town became incorporated.  For the next ten years business and population grew. By 1940 farming declined in the Sylvester area. Largely due to the continued movement of the railroad. People took their business and farming to the larger towns created by the expansion of the rail line. 

The population of Sylvester declined to 405 in 1940 and continued to decline to a count of 79 in 2000. 

  
All that is left of Sylvester on Texas Farm to Market (FM) Road 70 are shells of buildings. 

   
    
 
From 1905 to 1940 this would have been a center for news and gossip. Who has just arrived and what are they doing?  Planting crops or starting a ranch?  As time passed the conversations would be on who is leaving and where are they going. During those years there were births and deaths. 

The school, once full of children’s voices and foot steps, is now a gaping hulk like the rest of the buildings. The school was located off the road we traveled but can be seen by a Google search of Sylvester, Texas. Same for the information I have included in this post. 

14 miles a little north of Sylvester is the town of Hamlin, Texas. Quite a busy little town this is even today in 2016. 

  
The old town center has some wonderful old buildings. 

   
 
What makes a town succeed and what makes a town fail?  I don’t have an answer for that.

I hope you have enjoyed this little visit to Texas off the beaten path. 

Leslie

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Mistletoe – Did you know

it is a parasite that feeds off the host?  Sounds like something from Science Fiction. 

Nearly everyone knows about Mistletoe. The greenery hung from the top of doors. Anyone standing beneath the Christmas decoration is to be kissed.   Further, the people doing the kissing are supposed to each pluck one of the white berries. When the berries are gone….kissing is over. 

In my job I have the opportunity to learn new things, which I so enjoy. 

Mistletoe in southern Texas, within the Permian Basin, grow in clusters on elm or cedar trees.  This host tree was located in Sweetwater, Texas. 

  
Through my research on Google it seems the white berries are sticky. Birds eat the berries, fly off to another tree, excrete the seeds from the consumed berries. The seeds, now attached to the tree, embed themselves into branches.  As the seeds grow into the little bushes, the clusters feed off the host tree. 

Where, exactly, is the parent Mistletoe bush or tree?  I have no idea. According to Wikipedia, Miseltoe is native to the UK, Africa, and Spain. So….how did it make its way to Texas?  Surely the birds would have cleansed their digestive tracts long before reaching Texas. 

This Christmas time favorite can be very destructive to the elm and cedar trees.  Enough of a nuisance to have several articles written about removal of the parasitic plant. It seems this little bugger is difficult to control. It can take several years of cutting it away in an attempt to stop its growth. 

Mistletoe will be around for as long as we have birds. 

I have a light day tomorrow. Two trucks out of Minneapolis, Minnesota going to Chicago, Illinois. Joe will be doing the driving. I’m working on getting the slavedriver to stop early in the evening so I can get some crafty play in. So far….not so much luck. 

Tomorrow, I will be sharing with you the town of Sylvester, Texas. Now a ghost town. 

Leslie