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WEATHERFORD, TX

WEATHERFORD, TEXAS. Weatherford, the county seat of Parker County, is at the intersection of U.S. highways 180 and 80, thirty miles west of Fort Worth in the center of the county. Interstate 20 passes the southern edge of the city, and Farm roads 920, 2421, 51, 1884, and State Highway 171 serve it too. Parker County held an election to select the site for its county seat. Of three eligible sites, the present location was selected and named Weatherford in honor of Jefferson Weatherford, a member of the Texas Senate who coauthored the bill establishing the county. On the crest of a divide between the Trinity and Brazos valleys, Weatherford, for its first decade, was the principal frontier settlement in North Texas. The town was incorporated in 1858, and a post office was opened in 1859. The new county seat was midway on the stage run between Fort Worth and Fort Belknap. For its first twenty-five years Weatherford acted not only as the county seat but also as a safe haven for Parker County residents, who fled to the city during the series of Indian raids which lasted until the early 1870s. Once the threat of Indian attacks abated, the city prospered. The tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railway reached Weatherford in 1880. Seven years later the Santa Fe line entered the city limits. In 1891 a local line, the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway, began operating. This network established the county seat as a retail and shipping point for Parker County farmers and ranchers. In the mid-1890s Weatherford had an estimated population of 5,000 and 100 businesses, seven churches, several schools, three banks, four hotels, three weekly newspapers (Weatherford Sun, Weatherford Constitution, and the Parker County News), and one institution of higher learning, Weatherford College.

Throughout the twentieth century Weatherford continued to serve as the agribusiness center of Parker County. Oilfield equipment and furniture were among the new businesses added during the 1920s. The Great Depression years reduced the number of residents of Weatherford from just over 6,000 in 1920 to just under 5,000. Beginning in 1940, however, Weatherford began a thirty-year period of steady growth. The number of residents increased to over 8,000 in 1950. In 1990 the population was 14,804. Among the over 400 businesses in the city were manufacturing plants that produced oilfield equipment, rubber, and plastic products. The addition of U.S. highways 180 and 80, as well as a series of Farm roads built during the 1950s, helped maintain Weatherford as an important retail and shipping point for North Texas farmers and ranchers. Since 1900 watermelon has become the main agricultural product farmed in the Weatherford area. During the 1960s Weatherford Junior College was expanded. Weatherford Lake, just outside the city limits, is a popular recreational spot. The First Monday Fair is held on the first Monday of each month. The event evolved from a trade day when court was in session, and farmers and ranchers brought produce and livestock to town. It now features a flea market, produce, and livestock. By 2000 the population of Weatherford had grown to 19,000 with 1,614 businesses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

John Clements, Flying the Colors: Texas, a Comprehensive Look at Texas Today, County by County (Dallas: Clements Research, 1984). Gustavus Adolphus Holland, History of Parker County and the Double Log Cabin (Weatherford, Texas: Herald, 1931; rpt. 1937). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982). Weatherford Democrat, August 11, 1939.

David Minor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David Minor, "WEATHERFORD, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hew03), accessed December 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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