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NEW BOSTON, TX

NEW BOSTON, TEXAS. New Boston is on U.S. Highway 82 and the Missouri Pacific Railroad twenty-one miles west of Texarkana in the central part of Bowie County. When the railroad was being constructed four miles north of Boston in the summer of 1876, it was clear to many businessmen in Boston (now Old Boston) that their town would suffer a serious decline as a consequence of its distance from the line. At a mass meeting J. H. Smelser, a local resident and surveyor for the railroad, was selected to meet with railroad officials to secure the location of a depot at a point on the line nearest to Boston. The negotiations were successful, and in September 1876 lots were laid out and put up for sale on 100 acres that the railroad had purchased. Because most of those engaged in the project were from Boston, the new town was named New Boston. A post office was established in 1877 with L. C. DeMorse as postmaster. The town grew rapidly. By 1884 it had 400 residents, two churches, a school, several mills and gins, and a newspaper, the New Boston Herald, edited by W. W. West. A furniture factory and another newspaper, the Bowie County Populist, were added in the 1890s.

By 1900 the town had a population of 762. It grew slowly until the late 1920s, when a short-lived boom raised the population from 869 in 1925 to 1,300 in 1929. The population fell to 949 by 1931. During World War II the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant and the Red River Army Depotqqv were constructed just southeast of New Boston. The two massive military installations were probably responsible for the town's rapid growth in the 1940s. The population grew from 1,111 in 1940 to 2,688 in 1950. In 1980 it reached 4,628. Although a large paper mill and a few smaller factories provided some industrial base for the town, in 1987 New Boston depended heavily on the two military installations for its continued prosperity. The town had 5,057 residents in 1990. On March 4, 1986, a new county courthouse was dedicated in New Boston, but Boston remained the official county seat. The old Bowie County Courthouse, constructed in Boston in 1889 and one of the handsomest in Northeast Texas, was abandoned after construction of the new building. On the night of August 13, 1987, the old courthouse was burned by an arsonist. In 2000 the population was 4,808.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Morning News, March 6, 1938. Texas Observer, December 23, 1988.

Cecil Harper, Jr.

Citation

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

Cecil Harper, Jr., "NEW BOSTON, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgn01), accessed October 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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