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Stephen L. Hardin

VAN VLECK, TEXAS. Van Vleck is near the junction of State Highway 35 and Farm Road 2540, five miles east of Bay City in northeastern Matagorda County. It was originally known as Hardeman's Post Office, probably after Bailey Hartman, one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The community developed as a stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad about 1899. In 1901 the Hardeman post office changed its name to Van Vleck; it was named for W. G. Van Vleck, a railroad official. The citizens later failed in an effort to make Van Vleck the county seat. In 1914 Van Vleck had a population of 450, served by fourteen businesses, including six general stores, a lumberyard, a telegraph agent, and a telephone connection. Its estimated population had dropped to 100 by 1925. In 1936 Van Vleck had three schools, five businesses, a church, and several dwellings; its estimated population remained at 100. By the 1930s the community had its own school district, and in the 1937–38 school year four teachers instructed 106 students. In 1943 Van Vleck reported 230 residents and eight businesses. By 1949 several surrounding community schools had been consolidated into the Van Vleck Independent School District, which by then covered 338 square miles of the northeastern portion of the county. Until 1951 there was only one church building in the area, Community Church, used for services by all of the town's faiths. Then the First Baptist Church was built in 1952 and a Methodist church in 1955. In 1954 the town had an estimated 180 residents and ten businesses. By 1966 the population was 195, but the number of businesses had dropped to five. In 1968 the estimated population was 730; in 1972, 1,051; and in 1984, 4,000. A new high school was built in 1976, and its enrollment in 1984 was 1,155. In 1990 the population of Van Vleck was 1,534. The population was 1,411 in 2000.

Frank J. Balusek, Survey and Proposed Reorganization of the Schools of Matagorda County, Texas (M.Ed. thesis, University of Texas, 1939). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Stephen L. Hardin, "VAN VLECK, TX," accessed August 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HJV03.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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