Elkhart, TX

By: Dorothy K. Bridges

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: October 21, 2020

Elkhart is at the intersection of State Highway 294 and U.S. Highway 287, eleven miles south of Palestine in southern Anderson County. In 1851 members of Daniel Parker's Pilgrim community moved to land around Boxy Creek to take advantage of the new post office and a newly established railroad. With the efforts of a friendly Indian, the newcomers settled into a community that continued to survive. They named the town after the Indian. A nearby spa served many socialites with its excellent mineral waters.

The International-Great Northern Railroad ran both passenger and freight trains through Elkhart. The freight cars were loaded with tomatoes, cotton, and pulpwood from the local sawmills. The depot in Elkhart was a thriving center for both trains and trucks. One mile west of the Pilgrim Baptist Church established by Daniel Parker is a Methodist church with a historical marker pointing out the locale of its first building. The first Methodist sermon was preached by Rev. William Stevenson, who came to Elkhart and met with members in their home until a church could be built about 1840.

In 1912 the downtown area was destroyed by fire. During the Great Depression Elkhart continued to have both a bus stop and railroad station, but as the farming declined the services were gradually curtailed. In 1933 Elkhart's public school district enrolled 736 White and forty-three Black students. In 1989 Elkhart had a bank and general store. Many area residents can trace their lineage to the town's first settlers. The population of Elkhart was 1,076 in 1990 and 1,215 in 2000.

Claude W. Dooley, comp., Why Stop? (Odessa: Lone Star Legends, 1978; 2d ed., with Betty Dooley and the Texas Historical Commission, Houston: Lone Star, 1985). Pauline Buck Hohes, A Centennial History of Anderson County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1936). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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

Dorothy K. Bridges, “Elkhart, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/elkhart-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 21, 2020

Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Anderson County
  • Latitude: 31.62796810°
  • Longitude: -95.57896800°
Population Counts
People Year
1,076 1990
1,215 2000
1,371 2010
1,314 2019