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CENTER, TEXAS (Smith County). Center is a small church community just west of Owentown and near the site of Camp Fannin in northern Smith County. The area was settled by the 1880s, when the local Methodist church was built. The church became the center of the community and was periodically rebuilt. In the church's early years, services were conducted by a circuit rider and held only on the second Sunday of each month. In 1903 Center had a one-teacher school for white students and a second one-teacher school for black students; each school reported an enrollment of thirty-seven. During the 1920s the community's white students attended classes in a crude, unpainted, one-story school with one teacher and an average of twenty-five pupils. By 1936 the white school had closed, but there were still seventy-two pupils and two teachers at the black school. During World War II Center grew because of its proximity to Camp Fannin. The Center church was on land used for the training camp, and the military used it as a chapel. After the war the church was returned to community use. By 1952 the Center school, along with others in the area, had been consolidated with the Winona Independent School District. In 1972 Center consisted of the church, a cemetery, and some scattered homes just outside Owentown. A 1985 map showed a church and cemetery at the site.


Edward Clayton Curry, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Smith County, Texas (M.Ed. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). "School Sights," Chronicles of Smith County, Fall 1969. Mrs. W. E. Zorn and Mrs. Betty Shamburger, "Center Methodist Church," Chronicles of Smith County, Spring 1967.

Vista K. McCroskey


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

Vista K. McCroskey, "CENTER, TX (SMITH COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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