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ANCHOR, TX

ANCHOR, TEXAS. Anchor is at the intersection of Farm roads 521 and 44 four miles northwest of Angleton in central Brazoria County. A two-story residence that was once the Whistler Hotel is all that remained in the 1980s to mark a once thriving town that stood at the junction of three railroads. The Columbia Tap, from Houston to East Columbia, was built through the area about 1852. The Houston and Brazos Valley crossed the original line in 1893, at a point first called Chenango Junction. In 1908 a third line was built through to Sugar Land. Four passenger trains ran through Anchor each day until World War I; afterward the passenger and freight traffic increased. A depot built in the 1890s handled all railroad business from West Columbia and Brazoria, and many "special trains" took people to the circus in Houston, to tours of a ship in port at Galveston, to a baseball game at Velasco, or elsewhere.

The town was established near the site of an earlier settlement known as Fruitland, at the junction of the International-Great Northern and the Velasco Terminal railroads. Jacob Whistler moved his family to this junction in 1895 and changed its name to Anchor, in honor of his former hometown in Illinois. Lots were sold at the site, but the development failed, and Fruitland lots later became an extension of the Anchor townsite. The Whistlers built a hotel and restaurant to accommodate passengers who switched trains there. A post office was established in 1897 with George W. Richey as postmaster. Eventually Anchor had two general stores, two sawmills, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, a cafe, a plant for processing frog legs, day and night Western Union service, two churches, and its own school, where Miss Minnie McMillan (later Mrs. Holland) taught from about 1914 to 1917.

Anchor was a trading center for the many farms in the area. Cotton and corn were the main crops, but onions, cabbage, tomatoes, and other crops were also marketed. Most families raised cattle for milk, butter, and meat, as well as hogs and chickens. A canning factory, mainly for tomatoes, was operated by a man named Burchard. By the time good roads and affordable automobiles became available, the area had had several storms and floods. The post office was discontinued on June 15, 1920, and mail was subsequently distributed from Angleton. In 1933 the community had two businesses and a population of fifty, but war rationing brought a further store closing in the 1940s. When State Highway 288 was constructed, it bypassed the town to the east. Development of the Angleton-Anchor oilfield caused little local growth, and by 1950 the town no longer appeared in the census.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James Lewellyn Allhands, Gringo Builders (Joplin, Missouri, Dallas, Texas, 1931). Angleton Times, September 14, 1900, May 11, July 20, 27, August 3, 1986. Brazoria County Federation of Women's Clubs, History of Brazoria County (1940). James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Houston Chronicle, December 20, 1959.

Marie Beth Jones

Citation

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

Marie Beth Jones, "ANCHOR, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hra39), accessed October 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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