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HARVARD, TX

HARVARD, TEXAS. Harvard, also known as Harvard Switch, is in the bottomlands of Big Cypress Creek on U.S. Highway 271 and the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, four miles north of Pittsburg in northern Camp County. The community developed around a switch on the Texas and St. Louis Railway, which was constructed through the area in the late 1870s. The track there was low-lying and easily flooded, with a long grade and a curve where it came up from the creek bottom. A black man named Hard Ivory had built a house near the road, and the railroad company made him section foreman for that portion of the track. Several of Ivory's black section crew members settled near his house, forming the nucleus of the Harvard community. Many of the men of the section crew also farmed, and Ivory built a steam gin in the community to handle their cotton. There was also a coal mine nearby. By the 1930s Harvard had a sawmill, a school, two stores, and two churches (Methodist and Baptist). The school, operated by the board of the Midway school district, was only one room, but it employed two teachers and offered instruction through the first seven grades to forty-seven black children. The children then transferred to Pittsburg or to Center Point for the higher grades. By 1955 the school district had been consolidated with the Pittsburg Independent School District, and by 1964 Harvard had one church and a few scattered houses. In 1983 the community comprised a church, two small stores, and widely scattered houses. In 2000 the population was forty-eight.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Hollie Max Cummings, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Camp County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1937). John Marion Ellis II, The Way It Was: A Personal Memoir of Family Life in East Texas (Waco: Texian Press, 1983). Artemesia L. B. Spencer, The Camp County Story (Fort Worth: Branch-Smith, 1974).

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., "HARVARD, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrh17), accessed December 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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