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RAVENNA, TX

RAVENNA, TEXAS. Ravenna is on Farm roads 274 and 1753, five miles northwest of Bonham and six miles south of the Red River in northwestern Fannin County. Settlers, among them John Hilyard Tackitt, Alonzo Larkin, J. T. Crawford, and T. A. Patillo, began moving into the area as early as 1850. The small community that developed was first known as Willow Point. By the 1870s four or five families had built homes, as well as a Christian church, which was still in use in the 1980s. By the mid-1880s the community had a population of 150 and a post office called Ravenna; the name, local tradition has it, was for the numerous ravines in the vicinity, especially a deep ravine that cut through the middle of the townsite. At that time Ravenna included some ten businesses, including a steam sawmill, a cotton gin, and a gristmill. The community incorporated in 1887. A school, Ravenna College, was established by G. L. Marshall and Kate Wolfe and offered private education to local children until it was moved to Ector in 1889. The Denison, Bonham and New Orleans Railroad built tracks through Ravenna in 1891, and during the early 1890s the population reached 400, served by some thirty businesses. Though the number of residents had fallen to 290 by 1900, Ravenna still maintained a number of businesses, including a weekly newspaper and a bank. By the eve of World War I, however, it had grown again, to 500 residents and thirteen businesses. By 1915 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas had taken over the tracks that ran through Ravenna. During the late 1920s Ravenna still served as a trade and cotton center and maintained some twenty-five businesses, including at least two banks, but by that time its population had fallen to 412, and rail service to the town had been discontinued. Between 1936 and 1966 the population fell from 254 to 145, and the number of businesses shrank from eighteen to three. The Ravenna school was annexed by the Bonham school system in 1949. The population of Ravenna was reported at 199 in 1990 and 215 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Fannin County Folks and Facts (Dallas: Taylor, 1977). Floy Crandall Hodge, A History of Fannin County (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1966). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).

Brian Hart

Citation

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

Brian Hart, "RAVENNA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlr02), accessed September 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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