• Taylor Conservation and Heritage Society, Taylor, TX


TCHS - Taylor Motor Comapny - 1931

Taylor Motor Company at 200 Porter Street built in 1931.

Single story masonry finished in smooth plaster. segmented window complements curved wall at street intersection. Streamlined forms are typical of the architectural style introduced at the Texas Centennial in 1936. Revolving neon sign is another art deco element.

TCHS - Hi-Way 95 1900

Hi-Way 95 at 311 North Main Street built in 1900.

Membership Form

 

Community Links


Taylor Economic
Development Corporation

 

Taylor Chamber of
Commerce

 

Taylor Public Library

 

Dickey Museum &
Multipurpose Center

 

City of Taylor

 

 

Taylor Oral History Project - 14 May 2005

Sponsored by Taylor Main Street, Taylor Conservartion & Heritage Society, Taylor CNET, and Moderated by Fred Switzer.

This 420MB 90 minute .mp4 file can be downloaded HERE

 

The Newest Tidbit(s) Below Will Have the Date/Title in RED.

 

Our Old Newspapers, from 1878

Although we now have the Taylor Press, heir to the well-known Taylor Daily Press, our town has always been covered by its journalists.

n 1878, Minor Brown established the town’s first paper, The Taylorsville Times.   Unfortunately, this publication didn’t survive the devastating fire of February 1878.

Although there were some periods between 1880 and 1900 when local papers were scarce, Taylor news was still available.   Western Union and Taylor Telegraph employees regularly wired important news across the country.   The Houston Post had a weekly society column on the social doings in Taylor.

By 1914 Taylor could claim four newspapers/journals.   The Daily Democrat was printed every afternoon with editor Herbert Wilson and publisher P. O. Wilson.   The printing press was at the Odd Fellows Hall at 120 West 4th.   They also published a weekly journal called The Taylor Journal.   The Journal was to be found at 221 Talbot.   Perry Hawkins was the editor.

In 1910, The Taylor Journal was the only newspaper in Williamson County that published a, German language only, paper.

In 1914 the Taylor Herald was another weekly publication which came out every Thursday with its printing press at 108 1/2 N. Main.   It was edited and published by A. A. Bogen.

Unfortunately, very few issues of these publications have been microfilmed or transcribed.   If anyone finds old copies of these, the Heritage Society would love to scan these and make the scans available to citizens.

 

A Twisted Silver Lining

Many Taylorites are familiar with the story of the devastating fire of February 25 and 26, 1879.   It not only burned up 29 of the 33 buildings in town, but was also responsible for our town being renamed Taylor from its original Taylorsville!   It appeared the problems were over.

But at least one company found an unexpected complication two months later.   Below is from the Austin-American Statesman of April 25, 1879.

“To Whom It May Concern.   This is to certify that we had a fireproof safe of Mosler, Barbain & Co. make in the fire at Taylorsville, Texas on February 25 and 26 and are pleased to certify that said safe preserved its contents in good shape.   Immediately after the fire a person by the name of L. Y. Notes representing the Diebold Safe & Lock Company called upon us and by false representations had us believe the safe ought to have done better and that observations to this effect should be stated on paper.   Upon further inquiry, we find that we wronged Mosler, Barbain & Co. by signing any such paper.   We certify that the Mosler, Barbain & Co. safes are the best fireproof safes and we have this day brought a new one to Taylorsville, Texas.”

 

Census of 1880

We know that early Taylor attracted a wide variety of people as our first citizens.   The Old Settlers were already here to greet them!

But have you ever wondered where they all came from or what were the sounds on the streets?  Susan Garry, a Senior at the Legacy/Early College School digitized the 1880 Federal Census for the Society, therefore we can describe our 1880 citizens to you.

The census identified 2,488 individuals.  Only 329 came from outside the United States, although a couple hundred were the American born children of immigrants.

What accents did one hear on the streets?  This covered a lot of territory.  Of the 329 foreign born arrivals, 220 came from the combined areas of Austria, Bohemia, Prussia, and Germany.

The United Kingdom was the starting place for 60 individuals.   Ten individuals came here from Mexico, and four from France, while Norway, Sweden and Switzerland accounted for nearly twenty.  Poland, Australia, Moravia and Ireland round out the picture.

But most came from the United States, over 2,100.  Thirty -four states were represented, with 1,100 coming from here in Texas.  Understandably, our nearest neighbors (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas) accounted for 330 persons.

In 1880, Taylor had 2,488 residents, of which 1,077 were women and 1,411 were men.   Of these 2,488 residents, 938 were 12 years old or younger and 146 of those were under five years old.   Over 1,900 residents were under 30 years old and 224 were over 60 years old.  The youth predominated.

This was a young, vigorous and growing town.  And it’s exciting to see that vigor and excitement return to our town, Taylor.

 

May 10, 1883

As they stroll through downtown or tour our great historical neighborhoods, citizens and visitors alike can feel Taylor’s vitality and the excitement of our recent growth.   It therefore seems like a good time to revisit Taylor’s first “boom” period, reported in the Austin Weekly Statesman of May 10, 1883.

Taylor, Texas.   Ever alike to the city’s best interest, and not content with a new opera house, a three-story brick hotel, and a thorough system of water works, our public spirited businessmen have taken the introductory steps in forming what will be known in the future as the Taylor Hardware Company with paid cash capital of $25,000.   The new Taylor public school building is being rapidly pushed to completion.   The city is truly in a great boom with fully thirty new houses under construction.   A new water works will soon be in operation.


Not too bad for a city that most newspapers reported as destroyed by fire only four years earlier, when 29 of the 32 existing firms plus several homes were reduced to ruin.   And just to note, the new public school mentioned above opened its doors on September 3, 1883.   The first class, with two students, graduated in 1887.

 

1884 Employment Opportunities

Yes, we were a railroad town in 1884. But eight years after founding, we offered all the career opportunities a man could wish. Women had the broad choices of wife, mother, teacher, cook, laundress, or boarding house manager.

“Laborer” was the occupation for 120 men of all races. This was 10% of those over 16.

The railroad employed 33 men. The job category employing the most men was that of Engineer, with 7 men. There was just one Railroad Agent.

That Taylor was quickly growing was testified by the presence of 31 carpenters. However, there was only 1 Plumber!

The 1884 citizens could find almost anything they wanted in downtown Taylor. There were 29 merchants, 1 bank, 2 dressmakers and a milliner.

Food vendors were plentiful. Five butchers were here, a restaurant, and at least two hotels that provided meals. Two confectioners catered to the sweet tooth. Two men listed their jobs as “bar tender” and there were 2 saloon keepers. This was the period of the “free lunch” at saloons.

In this one automobile era, the town was well supplied with horses. There were 9 blacksmiths, 1 Sadler, 1 harness maker and 1 Livery Owner. Nine farmers and 8 stock breeders are also shown in the census.

 

1884 Employment Opportunities (continued)

Taylorites could get anything they wanted in the growing town. The railroads could bring in any thing that couldn’t be found on Main Street or in Commerce, Broad or Milan Streets (original names of First, Second and Third.)

If one needed to consult a professional or service provider, they were readily available. There were 5 doctors and 1 dentist plus 4 druggists. There were 2 printers. There was 1 priest and 6 ministers or preachers.

Everything was up to date in Taylor. There were 4 telegraph operators, and 1 photographer.

Rounding out this survey of occupations, are some that have largely disappeared. These include 1 net maker, 1 tinned, and 6 millers. There were also 2 wheel Wright’s, 3 shoe makers, and 1 Millwright.

The following year, 1885, saw a building boom in our town. I recommend checking out the online Sanborn maps at the Perry-Castaneda Library These maps shows the expanded stores and offices, and the extensive downtown construction. This Building boom continued for almost 15 years and we are privileged to have many of those buildings still here.

 

1884 Taylor Census

Click HERE to download 1884_Taylor_Census.xls

 

July 4, 1884

Taylor has long been known for its proud celebrations on July 4.   Some of our earliest parades and best floats were created for Independence Day.

But a reporter for the Austin Weekly Statesman of July 10, 1884, revealed another side to the celebrations.   Recounting the patriotic events of the day, the reporter added:

At an early hour of the evening, the elite of the city, led by the Taylor Silver Cornet Band, congregated at Bering's Beer garden, and until the wee small hours the merry revelers enjoyed themselves eating, drinking, dancing, etc.   Some of our married citizens, whose wives and children are residing for the summer in the cooler regions of the North, were taking a very prominent part in drinking and dancing with the young ladies.   Should the dear absent ones find this out, they would return from a cooler climate so quick it would make those gentlemen think an iceberg had struck their spinal columns.


We wonder how many of those wives received anonymous clippings of this column?

 

September 11, 1884

Today’s headline in the St. Louis Post Dispatch reads: "CAUGHT BY DECOYS".

The story recounts how the postmaster suspected a postal agent near Temple park was robbing the mail.   It seems that for more than three months reports had come in that packages and letters appeared to have been opened sometime after they left Denison.

The postal authorities tried but failed to identify the thief or thieves.

Finally Officer Frink of Austin decided to lay a trap.   He made up five packages and mailed them to addresses between Temple and Austin.   The paper enthusiastically wrote, "The trap was well set, and the erring agent fell an easy prey."

John Montelin, a postal agent in Taylor, Texas, was arrested at his boarding house.   He admitted the crime and was jailed. At Montelin's hearing, he explained that he needed money to care for his sick family, so started gambling.   He lost, and to prevent the gamblers from coming after him, started stealing to save himself.   He had committed over two hundred separate robberies, each carrying a sentence if two to twenty years.   The paper concludes "it is difficult to surmise how long Mr.Montelin will pass within prison walls."

 

January 12, 1888

Correspondence was slow, but a photo that led to what was labeled 'A Most Romantic Marriage', shows that correspondence could lead to romance, without the Internet!

The Wadesboro Intelligencer tells of a most romantic marriage that took place in Wadesboro last week:

"It was the marriage of Major H. A. Wallace of Taylor, Texas to Mrs. Mary Moore of Wadesboro.   The contracting parties had never seen each other face to face until they met at the threshold of the bride's home on Friday, December 30th.   For six months, however, they had been in correspondence, the result of the Major having seen a picture of Mrs. Moore in the house of her brother, Dr. John Threadgill, his friend of fifteen years, who lives in Taylor.   Major Wallace was a friend of Dr. Threadgill, and he was charmed by Mrs. Moore's photo.   Their correspondence had an easy beginning, and as later events show, a happy termination.   The ceremony took place at the home of the bride, and in the presence of numerous friends."

 

Name That Street

Downtown Taylor is the in place again, just as it was from its founding.   But those founding mothers and fathers would be confused by the complete changes to the east-west street names.

The original names were used exclusively until 1892.   Then, beginning in 1893, Sanborn maps used both names through 1904.

So next time you’re down on 2nd, see why it was called Broad!

Number   Name Number   Name Number   Name
  1st Commerce   2nd Broad   3rd Milam
  4th Olive   5th Hunter   6th Hamilton
  7th Dickson   8th Hoxie   9th Hayes
  10th Gould   11th Dodge

 

August 3, 1893

ELLIOTT Street.

Looking at a city map, Elliot runs from 7th street south to 1st, three blocks east of Main.   Elliott is the eastern boundary of the original layout of Taylorsville.   It was named for Colonel William Elliott, who was a trained surveyor hired to plat the new town.

He also gave the city one of its first mysteries: a lost will!   Col. Elliott left his property to his widowed mother back in Ireland when he died.   Dr. John Threadgill finally found the will in a stash of old papers nearly a year after Col. Elliot’s death.

The August 3, 1893 Austin American Statesman gave some of his history: “He came to America immediately after the late war.   He was a prominent Mason of the 32nd degree and well known throughout the state.   He surveyed, platted and laid out the present city of Taylor, then a barren prairie in the spring of 1876, and until his death made this his adopted home. He left property of about $16,000.*”   William Elliott is buried in the Taylor City Cemetery.

* Approx. $1.5 million today

 

June 7, 1898

THIS FLAG MADE A STATEMENT

Taylor citizens held a great demonstration.  Why?  To honor our new flag!

As reported in The Houston Post the next day, the celebration was for the first raising of a new flag that measured 12' by 20' on a 105' high flagpole!  The reporter estimated that about 1,500 people turned out, mostly Taylor residents.  The event was preceded by a procession starting at the foot of Main Street, preceded by the Taylor Brass Band, and included the mayor, city council, department heads, and Taylor citizens.

Remember that Taylor had less than 3,500 inhabitants at the time.  Perhaps we can turn out at least 1,500 for this year's 911 parade?  After all, we have over 16,000 inhabitants now!

 

August 19, 1907

Baseball season has rolled around again. From The Houston Post:

“Taylor, Texas. A rattling good game of baseball for amateurs was played here yesterday afternoon in Mendel’s baseball grounds between the visiting team from Beaukiss and the Taylor Giants, resulting in a score in favor of Taylor of 4 to 2. The Beaukiss team was composed primarily of farmer boys and they handled the bat with ease and grace. Their battery was exceptionally good. A series of three games will be played later by these teams.”


We have to suspect a bias on the part of the unidentified reporter, since no favorable analysis of the Taylor team was given. It would be fascinating to know if the Taylor Giants also played with ease and grace? After all, we Won!

 

Weather in 1909

Taylor is one of the many cities that serves as a National Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) Site, established November 13, 1901.   Some of the most fascinating reports dealt with the flood of 1921, but today we want to review a report from 1909:

Mean annual temperature, previous 8 years      67.0
Normal temperature      66.6
Mean maximum temperature      77.4
Mean minimum temperature      56.6
Highest maximum temperature and date, Aug.18, 1909      109
Lowest minimum temperature and date Feb. 13, 1905      -19
Mean annual precipitation in inches      32.08
Greatest annual precipitation 1903      38.24
Least annual precipitation 1909      .20.42
Mean annual wind velocity in miles per hour      9.0
      M. B. STUBBS, Observer, Weather Bureau  

 

pre-1910

Downtown Taylor is back! And as you stroll through historic downtown Taylor and enjoy the ambience, see which of the pre-1910 buildings and halls are still here.

We’ll start with an easy one: the 1905 City Hall and New Opera House at Main between 4th & 5th, now long gone.

Now for some more challenging ones:
      Taylor National Bank Building; NE corner of Main & 2nd
      Sturgis-Goldstein Building; NW corner of Main & 2nd
      First National Bank; SW corner of Main & 2nd
      Melasky Building; 207 N. Main
      Thames Building; 208 1/2 N. Main
      Grau Building (Old Opera House); 209 1/2 - 213 1/2 N. Main
      City National Bank; 210 N. Main
      Bowers Building; SW corner of Main & 3rd
      Goldstein Building; NW corner of Main & 4th
      Thompson Hall; SW corner of Talbot & 2nd
      Turner Hall; NW corner of Talbot & 2nd
      IOOF Building; 120 West 4th

 

The Weekly Texan

One of the earliest Taylor newspapers, founded in 1880, published the following in the 1910 City Directory:

P. O. Wilson, Proprietor. Herbert G. Wilson, Editor. THE TEXAN is now in its thirtieth year of existence. It has been published under the same and present management for twenty five years- since its fifth birthday. It reaches the homes of more farmers than any other paper in Williamson County.

Nearly every box in the rural routes of Williamson County weekly receives THE TEXAN. On two routes out of Taylor, not a box fails to get THE TEXAN.

ONLY $1 A YEAR!

Subscribe! Try it, and if you don’t decide it is the best country weekly paper published in Texas, tell us and we will send it to you for a free year or refund your $1.

 

1910

Before Keep Taylor Beautiful, there was the Taylor Civic Beauty Club.

The 1910 City Directory has a fascinating list of clubs and fraternal organizations, as well as numerous city standing committees. One of the most intriguing clubs is the Taylor Civic Beauty Club.

The Directory gives the following description: "Composed of the leading and most progressive ladies in the city, it’s object is to beautify and improve Taylor in every possible way.”

The officers are then listed and it was definitely a who’s who list of 1910 Taylor:

President - Mrs. F.C. Floeckinger
First Vice-President - Mrs. D.F. Smith
Second Vice-President - Mrs. Louis Lowe
Secretary - Mrs. F.C. Ripken
Treasurer - Mrs. W.W. Taylor


Rounding out the Board of Directors:

Mrs. Dan Murphy
Mrs. P.M. Woodall
Mrs. Jas. Thompson
Mrs. J.M. Black
Mrs. Sol Yakey
Mrs. A.B. Dozier
Mrs. O.E. Roberts
Mrs. M.E. Henderson
Mrs. R.L. Shoah
Mrs. F.B. Gray

The entry closes with “the club bids fair to make a more beautiful Taylor a realty.”

As always, we want to thank the Taylor Public Library for making the Directory available to all.

 

Public Schools From 1910 (Part I)

This Tidbit comes from the 1919 City Directory, courtesy of Taylor Public Library. This was the first City Directory, and Taylor citizens were proud of our status.

The first School was taught by Prof. Agenda and his wife in 1877. Then came Prof. John McMurray in 1878.

In 1880 a public free school was opened. The present system of public schools was organized in 1883 with A.E. Hill as superintendent. He was assisted in the first year by J.S. Jones and Miss Emma Puckett.

The city purchased the school buildings which had been erected by a stock company in 1880. These buildings, together with additions made to them, were used until 1890 when the three story brick building now occupied by the School was built.

Prof. Hill remained at the head position continuously from its establishment until June 1899 at which time he resigned to engage in other business, and W.M. Williams, Principal of the High School, was elected Superintendent, which position he held until his resignation in 1908. The present incumbent, Jon. F. O’Shea, succeeded Mr. Williams. Mr. O’Shea was re-elected in 1909.

Mr. O’Shea is an able educator and has an efficient corps of teachers to assist him in the work of public education.


In the next Tidbit we’ll cover that efficient corps.

 

Public Schools From 1910 (Part II)

The article on Taylor Schools in the 1910 City Directory (provided by the Taylor Public Library) continues with a description of the teachers. If you have ancestors in early Taylor, you might find them here.

Miss Ora Root has been with the schools for seventeen years, Miss Mary Nunn for fourteen, and Miss Priscilla Draper for ten. Miss Margaret Angus and Mrs. Ida Gentry Davis, who were out for short intervals, have taught for twelve and eight years respectively. And other teachers have been with the schools for several years. For the most part it has been the policy of the Board to only employ experienced teachers who have been professionally trained and to keep them as long as they wished to remain. This plan has placed the schools on the high plane they now occupy.

BOARD OF EDUCATION
    S.C. Yakey, President
    John F. O’Shea, Secretary and Superintendent of of Schools
    J.W. Wommack, R.C. Briggs, T.B. Hyde, A.E. Nauwald, R.H. Talley and G.E. King

WHITE HIGH SCHOOL
    C.P. Balch, Principal
    Teachers:   Miss Ora Root, Miss P.F. Draper, and Mrs. Mamie Doak

WHITE GRAMMAR SCHOOL
    Miss Minnie Bibb, Principal
    Teachers:   Mrs. Florence Crawford, Mrs. Ida G. Davis, Miss Margaret Angus, Miss Brown,
        Mrs. Ribera Rowland, Miss Nan Gentry

WHITE PRIMARY SCHOOL
    Mrs. J. G. Ellis, Principal (entry unclear)
    Teachers:   Miss J. Easley, Miss Eva Garry Brunner, Miss Mattie Watson

AFRICAN-AMERICAN SCHOOL
    J. D. Martin, Principal
    Teachers:   Mrs. TJ. A. Collins, Miss Grace Edgar, Mrs. J. D. Martin

ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL
    Locate on the corner of Fourth and Elliott and operated by the Dominican Sisters of
    Galveston, the Superintendent is always the pastor of St. Mary’s Church.

 

BANNER COTTON TOWN (1910)

In 1910, Taylor was growing and the citizens were proud to authorize the first City Directory. Unlike the phone books that would soon replace them, the directories were almost census reports. They listed all residents over 16, where they lived, and how they were employed. Our Taylor Public Library has the 1910 and 1914 editions, and we thank them for making the directories available.

The 1910 edition has an historical opening. We wish to share a portion of it as this Tidbit.

TAYLOR THE BANNER COTTON TOWN.     In the largest producing district of the world, located on an elevation, surrounded by the rolling prairies of the famous rich black waxy soil, more fertile than the famed ‘Delta if the Nile’.

Taylor’s building statistics for 1906 will l reach the total of over 200 new modern residences, including several up to date brick business buildings.

Taylor has two trunk lines of railroads, a coffee roasting plant (Wholesale) with a daily capacity of 10,000 pounds, a first class mattress factory, whose products are sold all over the South, two cotton oil mills, a large compress, a newly built cold storage plant, two ice factories, a good water-works, a modern sewage system, a good fire department, to which has just been added the latest improved chemical engine, a $35,000 City Hall, an opera house, substantial brick churches, palatial homes, one of the best public school systems in the State, miles of cement sidewalks, an electric light plant, large flour mills, railroad division point, and several shops under construction, which when completed, will give a payroll every thirty days amounting to $50,000.

In 1907 Taylor received 32,000 pounds of wagon cotton.

“Cheap fuel and plenty of land for building purposes . Come and live with us."

TCHS echoes that 1910 invitation. Come and live with us!

(Editors note. $1.00 in 1907 had the equivalent buying power of $ 26.85 in 2018. And Yes, there was a 125+ word sentence in the original.)

 

Sept. 11, 1915

A 102 YEAR OLD COLD CASE OF THE SEVERED FOOT

Taylor's has a suspected murder case from 1915.  Why wasn't it solved?  The body was never found!

On September 11, 1915 the Muskogee Times Democrat ran a strange story.  It seems that on September 11, some Taylor citizens spotted a dog with a woman's foot in his mouth.  They pulled the foot free, and noticed that it was not decayed.  Examination by Taylor physicians determined that it was a freshly amputated woman's foot.  However, police investigation found that there were no reported amputations within the last two months.  No woman had been reported missing.

The Taylor officers feared murder, but all investigations led nowhere.  So the case of the severed foot remains unsolved.

 

April-June 1917

PREPARING FOR ARMY TRAINING

The following ad appeared in several April-June 1917 editions of the Taylor Daily Press.   They were run by J. J. Thames Drug Store, located at 208-210 N. Main.

CAMP NECESSITIES.   Are you going away for training without being prepared?   We have just what you will need for your personal comfort and appearance.   You will need some or all of the following list.

Let us supply you with: Safety Razors, Whisk Brooms, Bathing Caps, Nail Brushes, Razor Strops, Shaving Brushes, Tooth Brushes, Mirrors, Pencils, Tooth Paste, Foot Powder, Writing Papers, Talcum Powder, Goggles, Cigars, Witch Hazel, Nail Files, Pipes, Razor Blades, Foot Soap, Tobacco, Hair Brushes, Pocket Knives, Cigarettes, Dark Glasses, Mentholatum, Flash Light, Manicure Scissors, Toorh Brush Holders, Cold Cream, Combs.

One has to wonder what the Army thought of the shopping list with all these items.   Our men stayed well-groomed, at least until they got to the trenches in France!

 

May 22, 1917

PURE BEER AND ICE CREAM!

A perusal of the Taylor Daily Press classifieds from 1917 gives an intriguing glimpse into another age.   Although this was only 100 years ago, the pace was definitely more leisurely.   And sometimes more fun.

From the Metropolitan Cafe at 319 N. Main:   "AFTER THAT AUTO RIDE.   Stop by our place and eat a dish if our delicious homemade ice cream.   It is made of the pure cream and the freshest fruit."

The W. A. Southern Plumbing and Electric Co. at 405 N. Main informed its customers:   "Thanking the public for a liberal patronage in the past, we solicit a continuance of the same in the plumbing and electrical lines.   Estimates on application."

From Frank Steeka, Beer Distributor:   "BUDWEISER AND EXPORT BEER.   MADE FROM PURE MALT AND BARLEY.   Our Budweiser beer is not only a potable and delicious beverage; it is also a wholesome drink, made under perfect sanitary conditions and bottled in a like manner.   Our Budweiser beer is a safe and sane drink and should be in every home.   Try a case today."

Buck Anderson's Cleaners (address not given):   "MOST GOOD DRESSERS BRING their clothes to us for cleaning, pressing and repairing.   They have found a habit which is hard to break.   You ought to join them - why don't you do so today?"

 

June 28, 1917

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany.

The Taylor Daily Press of June 28, 1917, carried an article entitled "Wake Up Texas".   It called for Texans to stop thinking that Germany would quickly surrender, or to think the only danger was in Europe.   It recounted a recent failed attempt by German spies to blow up ships in the Houston Ship Channel.   last part, quoted below, detailed how Taylor was answering the call to arms.   The entire article can be found in the microfilm collection at the Taylor Public Library.

Taylor has taken the lead in soldier enterprise.   There is hardly a city the size of Taylor that can boast of as much substantial patriotism as Taylor has shown.   The Taylor Rifles, composed of over 100 men and boys from Taylor and the surrounding country, are in active service here in Texas.   Quite a number from this city have joined the regular army and navy.   About twenty of the younger business men of our city are at León Springs learning to be officers, and quite a few have joined the engineers' corps.   One hundred and five citizens of Taylor and the surrounding country have joined Captain [Peter] Schram's Troop E, First Texas Cavalry, and his Company was the first in the State to reach the required number.   Taylor subscribed nearly four hundred thousand dollars in Liberty Bonds and during Red Cross Week Taylor citizens donated over sixteen thousand dollars to this worthy cause.   Can any other city the size of Taylor equal our efforts?


Note:   Dollar Calculator, $1.00 in 1917 had the same buying power as $20.81 in 2017.

 

Early Cotton Gins

Taylor historian J. H. Griffith provided the following information in his 1923 Taylor Daily Press column:   “It has been said that the first Cotton Gin built in Taylor was located on the site of the Taylor Bedding Co. mattress factory. It was built in 1877.”

Cotton Gins multiplied quickly. The Williamson County Gin at 308 Sturgis is in operation. Also still around are the Taylor Compress at 217 S. Main and the Waterloo Hoxie Gin at 100 CR 414.

The 1885 Sanborn map shows the Hartman Gin off W. 6th Fowzer and the I.T. Wood Cotton Gin on First Street. Other Gins appear to be past the map limits. In 1898 we had the Brandes & Kolman Cotton Gin & Grist Mill.

The 1910 Directory adds the Aderholt Gin at 303 E, 2nd. There were also the Evans-Burke Cotton Gin and Grist Mill on S. Main and W. 1st. The Taylor Gin Co. was here efore 1904.

Between 1914 and 1923 additional Gins were operating in Taylor. The Koneschick Gin was located in southeast Taylor. And the Salted & Still was operating near there.

This list isn’t complete and we would appreciate additional information.

 

Have You Been Down Lover's Lane?

Probably you have!   What started as the Georgetown Road became Lover’s Lane before 1923.   Then it received a third name - Lake Drive!

As one of the major east-west corridors in town, and providing the entrance to Murphy Park, if you’ve lived here for more than a month, you’ve probably ridden on Lake Drive.

 

Early Taylor Residents and Early Settlers

One of the first, if not the first, Taylor historian was J. H. Griffith. Mr. Griffith was an early President of City National Bank, and we want to thank the Griffith family for their long time support of the Heritage Society.   The following is an excerpt from his 1923 column in the Taylor Daily Press.

“H. Dickson, the first Agent for the I&GN Railroad, bought a residence property lying west of Main Street and part of Seventh Street.   His residence was located on the corner.   The Dickson Addition extended north and west of the residence.   Across Main Street immediately east of the Dickson residence was the old C. P. Vance homestead and in the same block east of C. P. Vance James A. Simon’s home.   Col. Fowzer built in the hackberry grove on the present location of the High School Building.   R. S. Porter built on Fourth Street.   Others also located at this time.”

If these names sound familiar, it’s no surprise.   The streets were named for their first home owners.   Seventh Street originally bore the Dickson name.

A few of the old Taylor settlers also added to our street names.   Mr. Griffith relates, “Prior to 1860, there were settlements on Brushy and San Gabriel, plus Turkey Creek and Wilson Springs.   Among the settlers on Brushy were Calvin & F. R. Barker, Willis Avery, Bartlett Sims, Charles Saul, Doctor Knight, Daniel Kimbro, and James Rice.   He had the first post Office and a tavern at Rices Crossing.”

 

May 4, 1924

While Taylor was founded as a railroad town, by 1924 we had bus service to and from Austin.

Here's an ad from today's Taylor Daily Press :

TAYLIR-AUSTIN BUS LINE. Two 6 passenger Buicks. Leaves Taylor at 7 am, 12:30 noon, and 5 pm. Leaves Austin at 7 am, 2 pm and 5 pm. Phone Taylor 111 or 412. Phone Austin 654. Tix $1.50.

 

The Taylor Harness Shop, May 8, 1925

The title “harness company” conjures pictures of wagon teams and reins.   And that was a goodly part of their early stock.   But what did harness companies do as automobiles took over from the horse drawn carriage days?   This ad from the Taylor Daily Press of June 8, 1925 answers some if those questions:

“ON THE WAY AND HAPPY.   Now is the time to buy Leather Goods and this is the place.   Trunks, suit cases and bags, everything you need for a going away trip is here at reasonable prices, if you want anything in the LEATHER GOODS LINE Come here.   Our bags are light and convenient.   We have some for long trips as well as weekend trips.   TIRES GOING UP.   Buy yours now at Okd prices.   We carry Mohawks - Mohawks go further!
TAYLOR HARNESS AND SADDLE SHOP “

 

Sloven Stationery?, October 9, 1925

On this date the Taylor Daily Press ran the following ad:

YOUR STATIONERY WILL COST YOU ONLY $1.00.   If you are sloven with your stationery, your friends will thing* you are sloven -100 sheets of fine writing paper and 100 envelopes printed with your name in keeping with the best social requirements for only $1.00. TAYLOR PRESS CO.


* “thing” instead of “think”. Seems sloven to us.

 

Long Distance Calls, 1928 Style

In 2018, we can use our mobile phones to call anywhere with a handy tower at any time.   Many plans allow unlimited minutes.

Ninety years ago, this was a very different matter.   Thanks to the Taylor Public Library, we can use the 1928 Taylor Telephone Directory to learn how it was Back in The Day.

STATION TO STATION CALLS.   The fastest and cheapest method, with four time breakdowns.   These are defined as “call starts when anyone answers at the receiving end.”   It has three time frames: Day, Evening, and Night.   An average 3 minute day call cost $2.40 or $34.45TD (Today’s Dollars).

PERSON TO PERSON CALLS.   The operator will stay on the line until the person named gets to the phone.   The same 3 Time categories are available, but the cost is higher.   The 3 minute call would be about $56.00TD.

APPOINTMENT CALLS are Person to Person calls set up by the Telephone Company at the time requested by the caller.   Night and evening rates were not available.   The average 3 minute charge of $4.65 translates to $66.26TD.


They also had to remember the warning in the Telephone Book, “It is sometimes impossible to establish long distance conversation due to reasons beyond the control of the Telephone Company since preliminary work has been already done, a small charge will be made.”

 

July 29, 1932

Gilbert & Sullivan’s opera, The Mikado , has a line:   "Make the punishment fit the crime."   The Taylor Daily Press reported an apt example.   The following event took place on Ferguson.

Greed cost the life of a snake here.   F. G. Dillard discovered the snake in a canary bird cage at his home.   The snake had crawled through the bars of the cage, swallowed one of the two canaries, and as a result, was too large to crawl back through the bars.   Dillard quickly killed the reptile.   The second canary wasn't injured."


We expect that for many years bird cages were no longer placed near open windows.

 

March 10, 1933

The Taylor Chamber of Commerce announced that they had selected “Taylor, City of Opportunity!” as our first slogan. There were 112 entries.

The Chamber President explained: "This is what we wanted to stress in our advertising of Taylor to the outside world. It seemed like an appropriate slogan would make the name more impressive."

What were some of the other submissions?

  • Taylor, City of Zeal
  • The Cotton Bowl Metropolis
  • Taylor, Our Taylor
  • The Self-Made City
  • Queen of the Blackland Prairie
  • Miss Taylor, Miss It All
  • The Cotton Capital of the World
  • Taylor, the City of Beautiful Girls
  • Taylor, the Home of Filling Stations

 

Back to Top of Page