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Alicia A. Garza

ORANGE GROVE, TEXAS. Orange Grove is at the intersection of State Highway 359 and Farm Road 624, eighteen miles north of Alice in northeastern Jim Wells County. The site was part of the Ventana Ranch owned by George and Hannah (Compton) Reynolds. In March 1889, when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway reached the area, the Reynoldses donated fifty-one acres of land to the railroad company as an inducement to build a stop on the ranch. In 1908 Fennell Dibrell and Max Starcke were hired by George Reynolds, Jr., and Ernest Miller to subdivide and sell 2,500 acres cut from the Ventana Ranch and from Miller's ranch. Dibrell and Starcke platted streets, which they named for their friends. They then sold a large portion of the land to German settlers from other German Texas towns. The developers chose the name Orange Grove for the new town, hoping to lure more settlers to the area by evoking the booming and profitable citrus industry in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The Orange Grove post office was opened in 1909, and that year the first store was established by L. W. Mumme, who accepted produce as payment on accounts. The Orange Grove Rifle Club was organized in 1911 and by 1912 had its own hall. By 1914 Orange Grove had an estimated population of 200, a bank, a cotton gin, four general stores, and a weekly newspaper, the Orange Grove Record. A line and a station, as promised to the Reynoldses, were finally constructed at Orange Grove by the railroad in 1914. In 1925 the town had a population of 300, and by 1931, some 1,000. During the 1940s the Orange Grove Rifle Club Hall became the social center for the community, with the Annual May Feast and the Annual Harvest Feast held there. The predominant language in Orange Grove continued to be German. In 1939 the population was estimated at 750, and by the early 1940s had increased to 906. By the early 1960s it had risen to about 1,100, then dropped to 1,000 by the mid-1970s. In 1990 Orange Grove had an estimated population of 1,175. In 2000 the populaton was 1,288.


Neva Virginia Pollard, The History of Jim Wells County (M.A. thesis, Texas A&I University, 1945).

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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, Alicia A. Garza, "ORANGE GROVE, TX," accessed June 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 30, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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