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STAMFORD, TX

STAMFORD, TEXAS. Stamford is on U.S. Highway 277, State Highway 6, Farm roads 1420 and 2834, and the Burlington Northern Railroad, in northern Jones County. Part of Stamford is in Haskell County. H. McHarg, president of the Texas Central Railroad, named the site in 1900 for his hometown in Connecticut. The Texas Central and the Swenson brothers, local ranchers who owned the townsite and the surrounding area, cooperated to market lots and develop business. The first post office opened in December 1899 in a railroad boxcar. The Stamford and Northwestern Railway Company was organized to link Stamford and Spur, then leased to the Wichita Valley Railway Company in 1908. Growth was rapid. By 1910 the population was 3,902. R. L. Penick, called the "Father of Stamford," established a bank and helped to guide development; he was elected mayor in 1903, 1917, and 1919. He was also first president of the Texas Cowboy Reunion Association. A flour mill was a leading industry from 1906 until its destruction by fire in 1946. A cottonseed oil plant, an iron foundry, gins, brick manufactures, and a railroad roundhouse were other significant employers. Stamford College, originally called Stamford Collegiate Institution, was opened by the Methodists in 1907. By 1909 a faculty of sixteen taught 346 students. The drought of 1910, World War I, and a fire in 1918 affected enrollments and finances, and in 1920 the college closed, as the Methodists established McMurry College in Abilene. From farming and ranching Stamford broadened its economic base after the discovery of oil in 1935. Apparel manufacturing was also important. Arledge Field, a flying school for army pilots run by a private civilian contractor, was established in 1941 and maintained until September 1944. For virtually all of the town's first half century, George G. Flournoy kept order as police chief. A small, crippled, cigar-chewing man, Flournoy began each day's work with target shooting at a stump outside city hall. Whether because of these demonstrations of marksmanship or for other reasons, Stamford remained an orderly place with a low crime rate. The Texas Cowboy Reunion, an annual event on the Fourth of July, has thrived since 1930. Rodeos are held in a natural amphitheater west of town adjacent to the Swenson Ranch. Federal Bicentennial funding in the 1970s helped found the Cowboy Country Museum in Stamford. The population of Stamford was 4,810 in 1940, 5,805 in 1950, 4,259 in 1960, 4,558 in 1970, and 4,542 in 1980. An industrial park was opened in 1964 with a large new building, and a modern hospital extension dates from 1977. Lake Stamford, in Haskell County, provides recreation and the town's water supply. In 1990 the population was 3,817. The population dropped to 3,636 by 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Hooper Shelton and Homer Hutto, The First 100 Years of Jones County (Stamford, Texas: Shelton, 1978).

William R. Hunt

Citation

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

William R. Hunt, "STAMFORD, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgs16), accessed September 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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