Ore City, TX

By: Christopher Long

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

Ore City, at the junction of U.S. Highway 259 and Farm Road 1649, thirteen miles northeast of Gilmer in eastern Upshur County, was originally part of the William Murray League. A school known as the Murray League Institute began operating in the area before the Civil War. Rich iron ore deposits were discovered in the area during the antebellum period, and ore was mined sporadically from the 1860s through 1900. Around 1910 efforts were made to begin industrial mining of the ore. In 1911 L. P. Featherstone persuaded the Santa Fe line to finance a rail link with Port Bolivar. By 1914 thirty miles of line, known as the Port Bolivar Iron Ore Railway, had been built, connecting newly founded Ore City with Longview. The town of Ore City was platted around 1911, and a post office opened the next year. By 1914 the town had several saw, shingle, and planing mills. It also had a bank, five general stores, a blacksmith shop, and an estimated population of 400. After the outbreak of World War I further construction on the railroad link was halted, and the line was abandoned in 1927. The town survived, however, and in the mid-1930s Ore City had two schools, several churches, a sawmill, ten stores, and a number of houses. Its population in 1936 was 500. It declined after World War II, reaching a low of 385 in 1952, when the town incorporated. The number of inhabitants topped 800 in the mid-1960s, and by 1976 Ore City had a population of 900 and thirty-four businesses. Many of the residents were employed at the nearby Lone Star steel mill. In 1990 Ore City was the second largest city in Upshur County; it had a population of 898 and thirty-one businesses. In 2000 the population reached 1,106.

G. H. Baird, A Brief History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1946). Doyal T. Loyd, History of Upshur County (Waco: Texian Press, 1987). Audie Ray, Lurline, and Douglas Ray Stanley, comps. and eds., Upshur County Cemetery Records (Gilmer, Texas, 1974).


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

Christopher Long, “Ore City, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 28, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ore-city-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995