CISTERN, TEXAS. Cistern is on State Highway 95 twelve miles northwest of Flatonia near the southwestern point of Fayette County. The community, first called Whiteside's Prairie and then Cockrill's Hill in honor of two early landowners, was settled during the 1850s on a hill overlooking fertile prairie land. Water wells in the area contained such high concentrations of minerals that residents were forced to build cisterns to trap rainwater for domestic use. By the time the post office was established in 1858, the community was known as Cistern.
The community life of this mixture of Anglo-American, German, and Czech residents centered around the Catholic and Lutheran churches, the school, the Harmony Club, and various fraternal organizations. In 1900 Cistern had a population of 150, a general merchandise store, a combination drugstore and saloon, a blacksmith shop and gin, and a physician. The post office closed in 1930. In 1950 the population was 150, and Cistern had two stores, two garages, and a consolidated high school employing five teachers. When the Muldoon oilfield was discovered between Cistern and Flatonia, wells began to dot the cotton fields. Cotton ceased to be a popular crop during the 1950s and 1960s, and landowners turned to ranching and the production of chickens. Many of the old fields were abandoned and reverted to pasture. Mail was delivered from Flatonia. During the 1980s the population dropped to seventy-five, and only three businesses remained in operation. The population was seventy-five in 1990 and again in 2000.
Frank Lotto, Fayette County: Her History and Her People (Schulenburg, Texas: Sticker Steam Press, 1902; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981).
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.Handbook of Texas Online, Jeff Carroll, "Cistern, TX," accessed February 13, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnc61.
Uploaded on June 12, 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