While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Julia M. Payne

COTTON CENTER, TEXAS (Hale County). Cotton Center is in a cotton-growing area twelve miles southwest of Hale Center in western Hale County. The area was developed in the late 1800s, primarily by ranchers. In 1907 the Plainview line, built through Hale County by the Santa Fe Railroad company, introduced both cash crops and a new wave of settlers arriving primarily from Oklahoma and East Texas. The community came into existence in 1925 with the consolidation of the local Bartonsite, Anchor, and Norfleet schools. In that year J. C. Brown, who is credited with naming the community, laid out a townsite and opened a cotton gin. In 1935 a local post office opened, and the first irrigation well was established. After World War II irrigation wells proliferated, pumping water from the Ogallala aquifer. On June 2, 1965, a tornado struck Cotton Center, killing one person, injuring three, and destroying several houses. During the 1980s the community was centered around the Cotton Center school system, which at that time served a district of about 130 square miles. In 1984 the community reported seven businesses and a population of 260, though the school district's population was estimated as around 800. Cotton Center's population was reported as 205 in 1990 and again in 2000.

Wilfred C. Bailey, "Cotton Center, Texas, and the Late Agricultural Settlement of the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico," Texas Journal of Science 4 (December 30, 1952). Mary L. Cox, History of Hale County, Texas (Plainview, Texas, 1937). Robert E. Simmons et al., eds., "Cotton Center: Reflections on the Cultural and Social Development of a West Texas Community," Hale County History 10 (1980).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Julia M. Payne, "COTTON CENTER, TX (HALE COUNTY)," accessed August 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlc52.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on TexasAlmanac.com!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...