• 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.

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Taylor Economic
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Dickey Museum &
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City of Taylor

 

 

The Newest Tidbit(s) Below Will Have the Date 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.

 

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."

 

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!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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