Calliham, originally known as Guffeyola, is on State Highway 72 eleven miles east of Tilden in northwestern McMullen County. The settlement was originally named for Hiram Harvey McGuffey, who owned a store on the site; in 1923 the community was renamed for Joseph Thomas Calliham, a rancher and the owner of the townsite. The community began on the Calliham Ranch during an oil-prospecting boom in 1918. At that time Guffeyola was not much more than a tent city with a general store. But by 1922, when an oil well was drilled on the site, so many people had moved to the area that William M. Stephenson arranged with Calliham to lay out a formal townsite; according to one account he guaranteed Calliham fifty dollars for every lot sold. In 1923 the community received a post office. During the 1920s the town had four cafes, three two-story hotels, several grocery stores, a bakery, a drugstore, a pool hall, a newspaper office, and a dance pavilion. Temporary classes were held on the nearby Stitz Ranch until 1928, when a brick schoolhouse was built in Calliham. Calliham's development peaked with a population of 400 during the late 1930s. In the late 1940s the community had a reported population of 300, five businesses, a post office, and a school. Its high school closed in 1948, and its elementary school closed in 1963. By 1972 only 121 residents and two businesses were reported in the town, and by 1978 twenty-two families remained at the original site. Calliham by 1988 had been moved three miles south of its original site, which had been inundated by Choke Canyon Reservoir. In 2000 the community reported a population of 200 with three businesses.
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T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). Dianna Everett and Philip A. Bandy, “Historical Resources of the Choke Canyon Reservoir Area in McMullen and Live Oak Counties, Texas; Hisorical Archaeological Resources of the Choke Canyon Reservoir Area in McMullen and Live Oak Counties, Texas,” Index of Texas Archaeology (San Antonio: Center for Archaeological Research, 1981). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. McMullen County History (n.p: McMullen County History Book Committee, 1981).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
John Leffler, “Calliham, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 29, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/calliham-tx.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.