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Vista K. McCroskey

BLOSSOM, TEXAS. Blossom is on the Missouri Pacific Railroad and at the intersection of Farm Road 196 and U.S. Highway 82, nine miles east of Paris in eastern Lamar County. The site was occupied by 1849, when the post office opened under the name Blossom Prairie. In 1876 the settlement became a stop on the Texas and Pacific Railway and was soon a shipping point for lumber, railroad ties, livestock, and grain. By 1884 the population reportedly had grown to 1,000. Businesses included five steam-operated gristmill-cotton gins, four sawmills, five grocery stores, two drugstores, three saloons, two dry goods stores, and Mrs. L. E. Jackson's millinery. Citizens also had access to three churches, a district school, a telegraph office, three doctors, a lawyer, a barber, and an undertaker. A newspaper, the Knights of Honor Sentinel, was published weekly, and D. G. Flenniken was postmaster.

The town was incorporated in 1886, and two years later citizens shortened its name to Blossom. In 1890 postmaster W. H. Byrn reported 1,200 inhabitants. A new gin and mill, as well as several new sawmills, had been established. William Chester was editor of the Blossom Bee, a weekly newspaper that had replaced the Sentinel. New businesses included a livery stable, a butcher shop, two confectioneries, the Crockett brothers' photography studio, and Mrs. L. R. Burke's hotel. In 1892 postmaster Green B. Eades had opened a furniture factory, Mollie E. Cross had established a new millinery shop, and the Exchange Bank was in operation with a capital of $30,000. The Blossom school reported four teachers and 259 students in 1896.

During the 1890s the depletion of the local lumber supply led many mills and workers to leave the area, and by 1900 the town population had decreased to 874. Early in the 1900s new businesses and more abundant cotton crops replaced lumberyards in Blossom's economy. In 1914 a cottonseed oil mill, a cotton gin, a brickyard, a produce company, and a broom factory were in operation. A few tourists came for locally produced mineral water that was reportedly effective against digestive problems. Another hotel and another bank, as well as several restaurants and clothing stores, opened, and residents had access to a new telephone exchange. They had also organized a band and an orchestra.

Throughout the 1920s Blossom's population slowly increased, reaching 1,200 in 1929. With the onslaught of the Great Depression, however, many farmers and stock raisers left the area for cities. Though Blossom had thirty businesses in 1931, the number of residents had plummeted to 650. By 1933 only eighteen businesses remained open. Maps for 1936 showed a small town with 858 inhabitants and a sizable but sparsely settled school district. The town did not share much in the economic relief brought to some parts of Texas by World War II. Residents left, businesses closed, and farming became the main occupation. In 1955 the population was 780, and fifteen businesses remained in operation. The town had 545 inhabitants in 1962. Maps for 1964 showed the school and four churches. A dam on Cuthand Creek had impounded City Lake. The Blossom Independent School District had been absorbed into the Prairieland Independent School District by 1970. In the 1970s, although businesses continued to close, the population began to grow, as many people chose to live in Blossom and work in nearby Paris. By 1980 the number of residents had reached 1,133, and eleven business were in operation. Blossom had 1,487 residents in 1983 and 1,737 in 1989, when the town supported nine businesses. In 1990 the population was 1,440, and in 2000 it was 1,439.

Thomas S. Justiss, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Lamar County with a Plan for Their Reorganization (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1937). Fred I. Massengill, Texas Towns: Origin of Name and Location of Each of the 2,148 Post Offices in Texas (Terrell, Texas, 1936).

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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, Vista K. McCroskey, "BLOSSOM, TX," accessed July 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjb09.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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