Zella was a rural community and land development project six miles north of Fowlerton on State Highway 97 in northwestern McMullen County. It was named for Zella Bland, the daughter of Col. Howard Bland, one of the town's developers. The Zella Townsite Company developed the site on the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad in 1913. The company drilled an artesian well and built a number of buildings, including a railroad depot, a one-room schoolhouse, and the Zella Hotel. It also printed and distributed thousands of promotional brochures which portrayed the area as a farmer's paradise. Zella was granted a post office in 1914, and a few town lots and some of the surrounding farmland were sold. A drought and the fact that the developers never built the irrigation facilities they had promised had discouraged the settlers by 1917. The town lost its post office in 1916, and the school closed soon after it opened. The railroad depot continued to operate for many years, and Zella served as a cattle shipping point, even after the railroad depot was torn down in 1945, until 1959. In 1985 the Zella Hotel was still in operation. Along with a few nearby mobile homes, it offered lodgings for hunters visiting the area.