Woodward, TX


By: John Leffler

Revised by: William V. Scott

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 18, 2021


Woodward is a rural community eight miles northwest of Cotulla on Farm Road 469 in northwestern La Salle County. It was established on the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad (known as the “Sausage” railroad) in 1907 as an early land development project based on the potential of agricultural production and named for David “D. J.” Woodward, the San Antonio-based promoter and founder of the Woodward Carriage Company and Body Works of Austin. In January 1907 Woodward brought in two train cars of Japanese laborers who were emigrating from Mexico and fifty to seventy-five Mexican laborers to convert the native brushland into productive fields. He planned to have 5,000 acres in cultivation later that year and grow the new community to a population of 10,000. In 1907 the town of Woodward was granted a post office, which served the community until it closed in 1955.

Woodward grew relatively slowly and by 1910 only had a population of fifty. The community was centered around a flowing artesian well, where D. J. Woodward established a bottling plant and marketed the product as Woodward “Vichey Water,” which was recommended for kidney problems. Soon the town of Woodward had a small frame schoolhouse. In 1924 a brick schoolhouse replaced the modest earlier structure and doubled as a church on Sunday afternoons and housed Sunday School and other community events. In 1922 the school boasted ninety-six students. By 1925 the school population rose to 217 students, about 10 percent of the school enrollment for LaSalle County, and, according to one account, there were 173 students enrolled in the town's school in 1931. By the late 1920s Woodward had the new school, a railroad depot, a thirteen-room hotel (which burned down in 1928), a cotton gin, and a grocery store that sold Texaco gasoline. On the 1930 census, Woodward consisted of thirty-six persons that represented seven households.

The town declined rapidly during the 1930s. In 1937 Woodward's railroad depot was closed, and by 1940 the town had only one store and ten residents. The community remained true to its agricultural roots and produced crops, including cotton, peanuts, and watermelons, traditionally grown in the Winter Garden region of Southwest Texas. In 1974 the community had no businesses; in 1990 the area’s population was twenty. By 2000 the population had dropped to ten. By the 2020s most of the surrounding area had again grown up in brush and transitioned into cattle ranching operations.

Stanley D. Casto, Settlement of the Cibolo-Nueces Strip: A Partial History of La Salle County (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1969). Cotulla Record, September 10, 1987. Annette Martin Ludeman, La Salle: La Salle County (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975).

Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
Places:
  • Communities

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

John Leffler Revised by William V. Scott, “Woodward, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/woodward-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

1952
November 18, 2021

Place
Woodward
Currently Exists
Yes
Place Type
Town
USGS ID
1380803
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • La Salle County
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 28.53359570°
  • Longitude: -99.32086920°
Population Counts
People Year
6 2014