Garden City, TX

By: Helen Wilkerson and Marilyn Read

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Garden City, the county seat of Glasscock County, is at the intersection of State Highway 158 and Ranch Road 33. After the formal organization of Glasscock County in 1893, an Ohio land company sent a Mr. Gardner to act as agent and to operate a store. A small settlement resulted in the establishment in 1886 of a post office named Garden City in his honor. Apparently it was to have been Gardner City but was misspelled by Washington officials. Two other settlements also near the center of the county, New California and Dixie, vied with Garden City to be county seat. New California was selected because it was on higher ground, and water was more readily available. At that time, however, there were only two dwellings at New California, and Garden City had a post office, a school building, and several residences. Most of the houses were placed on wheels and moved to the new site, 1½ miles from the old Garden City. On April 5, 1893, the commissioners' court changed the name of New California to Garden City.

In 1893 a two-story building of local stone was constructed for use as a courthouse and jail. The lower floor was used for court sessions, and the upper served as the jail. On August 27, 1910, a larger stone courthouse was completed, but the smaller jail building remained in use when needed until 1980. Once for a period of seven consecutive years the jail was never used, long enough for a mesquite tree to grow up and block the entrance. Between 1908 and 1910 the town had a bank and several real estate offices. A newspaper, the Garden City Gazette, was established by J. Marvin Hunter, noted frontier editor, and published from 1905 to 1913. The population dropped to 100 in 1925. Between 1927 and 1943 it varied from 100 to 250. It was 200 in 1945, when the town had eight rated businesses.

In the 1950s oil was discovered at the Spraberry oilfield on the edge of Glasscock County. Though this caused some population growth and increased the tax base for the county, the population of Garden City peaked at 300 in 1968. The number of businesses, however, did increase, from nine in 1947 to seventeen in 1968. The population was 293 in 1990 and in 2000. In 1989 Garden City had four churches, a grocery store, a cafe, a garage, two filling stations, a post office, a hair salon, an abstract office, and elementary and secondary schools with an enrollment of 407.

Max H. Greenwood, A Brief History of Glasscock County (M.A. thesis, Texas Technological College, 1937). H. N. Phillips, "A History of Glasscock County, Texas," Permian Historical Annual 5 (1965). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Communities

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

Helen Wilkerson and Marilyn Read, “Garden City, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 19, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995