KLONDIKE, TEXAS. Klondike, also known as Pleasant Grove, Old Pleasant Grove, New Prospect, and Kate, is at the junction of Farm Roads 1528 and 2890, three miles southwest of Cooper in southwestern Delta County. The area was settled as early as 1852, when John Hunt donated the land for Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Beginning in the 1860s a Methodist congregation and school met in the same building at the site. In 1895 the Texas-Midland Railroad built a line through Pleasant Grove to Cooper, the county seat, making the settlement a stop on the railroad. In August 1897 there were seventy-five inhabitants in the community. Four of these organized the New Prospect Baptist Church and two months later changed its name to Klondike Baptist Church of Christ. The Methodists allowed the new Baptist fellowship to share the school building with them. That same year Joel Jefferson Hunt applied for a postal franchise with the name Klondike, in honor of the Canadian Klondike, site of the gold rush. In 1901 the Baptists built a new building, and by 1904 the community had a population of 151. The following year the Klondike school district had a school for forty-nine black children and one teacher and a school for 134 white students and three teachers. In 1914 the town had a population of 400, three doctors, and businesses that included a telegraph office, a telephone exchange, a blacksmith shop, a hardware store, a drugstore, three general stores, and a dry goods store. J. J. Hunt served as president of First State Bank, which had a capital of $20,000. The most important enterprise was cotton shipment, and there were two large cotton gins.
Klondike remained an active shipping point throughout the following decade; in 1929 its residents numbered 350. But when the Great Depression ended the prosperity of the cotton years, people drifted away from the surrounding farm country. By 1933 the population of Klondike was 154. Maps of 1936 showed two churches and one cemetery in the community. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Klondike had six businesses and 150 inhabitants. When the school burned in 1945, the Klondike district was merged with the Shiloh system to form the West Delta school district. Maps of 1964 indicated four churches, Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Klondike Cemetery, and fifty dwellings at the site. By 1970 local children attended school in the Cooper Independent School District, and a community center had been completed by 1976. Maps for 1984 showed three churches, two cemeteries, the post office, and two businesses at Klondike. In 2000 the town had 135 residents and twelve businesses.
John J. Germann and Myron Janzen, Texas Post Offices by County (1986). Paul Garland Hervey, A History of Education in Delta County, Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1951). Wilma Ross and Billie Phillips, Photos and Tales of Delta County (1976).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Vista K. McCroskey, "KLONDIKE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlk10), accessed November 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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