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CHICO, TEXAS. Chico is at the intersection of State Highway 101 and Farm Road 1810, five miles north of Bridgeport in northwestern Wise County. Settlement of the area began in the mid-1870s, when J. T. Brown, from Chico, California, moved to the area and opened a general store near Dry Creek. The settlement became a church and school community for area farmers. A post office was established in 1882. A decade later the tracks of the Rock Island Railroad reached the community. Soon thereafter Chico became a retail center for cotton farmers. The town remained economically dependent on agriculture until the early 1940s, when oil was discovered nearby. The population reached 1,000 in 1942. Although Chico billed itself as the oil capital of Wise County, it also was one of the leading producers of crushed stone for road construction. At one time the town had four large stone processing plants. Agriculture remained important; in the 1950s peanuts and cantaloupes replaced cotton as the primary crop. Chico was incorporated in 1950, but the population declined to 850 by the middle of the 1950s. In 1986 Chico had an estimated 890 residents, twenty-five businesses, and a weekly newspaper, the Chico Times. In 1990 the population was 800 and in 2000 it was 947.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:John Clements, Flying the Colors: Texas, a Comprehensive Look at Texas Today, County by County (Dallas: Clements Research, 1984). Rosalie Gregg, ed., Wise County History (Vol. 1, n.p: Nortex, 1975; Vol. 2, Austin: Eakin, 1982).
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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, David Minor, "CHICO, TX," accessed August 23, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlc25.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.