Watauga is on U.S. Highway 377 ten miles northwest of Fort Worth in northern Tarrant County. The first permanent residents arrived after the Civil War. Settlers transported the name Watauga from Cherokee settlements in Tennessee. The area may have been a Cherokee settlement, and Watauga is a Cherokee word meaning “village of many springs.” The town developed as a loosely organized area of relatively large farms and ranches, which did not become a recognizable community until the early 1880s. The organization of the settlement was spurred by the extension of the tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railway through the area in 1881. A station opened, and in 1883 Watauga received a post office. The school registered twenty-six pupils and employed one teacher during the 1896–97 term. Watauga had a population of sixty-five in the middle 1930s, by which time its railroad depot had ceased operations. It reported an identical population ten years later. Like many Tarrant County communities that surround Fort Worth, Watauga emerged from its period of decline during the post-World War II years due largely to the development of defense plants in the area. Watauga had a population of 1,012 by the middle 1960s; it had 7,050 residents in 1976 and 20,009 by 1990. In 2000 the population was 21,908 and increased to 24,199 by 2015.
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William Bright, Native American Placenames of the Southwest: A Handbook for Travelers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982). Historic Resources Survey: Selected Tarrant County Communities (Fort Worth: Historic Preservation Council for Tarrant County, 1990).
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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