IRENE, TEXAS. Irene is on Farm roads 308 and 1946 just north of Navarro Mills Reservoir and twelve miles southeast of Hillsboro in southeastern Hill County. Settlers began moving into the area as early as 1848, when Edwin Zollicoffer moved from Alabama, purchased a large tract of land, and, using slave labor, cleared his property and built homes, a gristmill, and a cotton gin. The area became known as Zollicoffer's Mill. In the early 1870s J. T., Everette, and Ramsey Armstrong, Methodist ministers also from Alabama, moved into the area with a small group of additional settlers and purchased adjoining tracts. By 1876 J. T. Armstrong had built a general merchandise store. In 1878 a post office opened in the community. It was called Irene, a name suggested by one of the Armstrong brothers, reportedly to honor his daughter. A one-room school was built in Irene in the late 1870s, and four businesses operated locally by 1884. In 1896 the community had a population of 100 and ten businesses, including a drugstore, two mill-gin operations, and two carpenters. In 1903 the International-Great Northern Railroad extended its tracks through the community. Through its subsidiary, the Smith Land and Improvement Company, it bought and sold lots in Irene and replaced many existing frame structures with brick buildings. Between 1900 and the mid-1920s the population of the community increased from 132 to 400, a bank was organized, a locally owned water system was established, and the Missouri Pacific line took over operation of the tracks. Irene was incorporated in 1915 but later became unincorporated. From 1930 to the mid-1950s the town reported a population of 267, and its number of businesses decreased from fifteen to ten. By the late 1960s only 100 persons lived in Irene, and the railroad tracks had been removed. Irene reported a population of 160 from the mid-1970s to 2000. In 2000 it reported four businesses.
Hill County Historical Commission, A History of Hill County, Texas, 1853–1980 (Waco: Texian, 1980).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Brian Hart, "IRENE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hli11), accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history everyday,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles