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