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 »


Helen Wilkerson and Marilyn Read

GARDEN CITY, TEXAS. Garden City, the county seat of Glasscock County, is at the intersection of State Highway 158 and Ranch Road 33. After the formal organization of Glasscock County in 1893, an Ohio land company sent a Mr. Gardner to act as agent and to operate a store. A small settlement resulted in the establishment in 1886 of a post office named Garden City in his honor. Apparently it was to have been Gardner City but was misspelled by Washington officials. Two other settlements also near the center of the county, New California and Dixie, vied with Garden City to be county seat. New California was selected because it was on higher ground, and water was more readily available. At that time, however, there were only two dwellings at New California, and Garden City had a post office, a school building, and several residences. Most of the houses were placed on wheels and moved to the new site, 1½ miles from the old Garden City. On April 5, 1893, the commissioners' court changed the name of New California to Garden City.

In 1893 a two-story building of local stone was constructed for use as a courthouse and jail. The lower floor was used for court sessions, and the upper served as the jail. On August 27, 1910, a larger stone courthouse was completed, but the smaller jail building remained in use when needed until 1980. Once for a period of seven consecutive years the jail was never used, long enough for a mesquite tree to grow up and block the entrance. Between 1908 and 1910 the town had a bank and several real estate offices. A newspaper, the Garden City Gazette, was established by J. Marvin Hunter, noted frontier editor, and published from 1905 to 1913. The population dropped to 100 in 1925. Between 1927 and 1943 it varied from 100 to 250. It was 200 in 1945, when the town had eight rated businesses.

In the 1950s oil was discovered at the Spraberry oilfield on the edge of Glasscock County. Though this caused some population growth and increased the tax base for the county, the population of Garden City peaked at 300 in 1968. The number of businesses, however, did increase, from nine in 1947 to seventeen in 1968. The population was 293 in 1990 and in 2000. In 1989 Garden City had four churches, a grocery store, a cafe, a garage, two filling stations, a post office, a hair salon, an abstract office, and elementary and secondary schools with an enrollment of 407.

Max H. Greenwood, A Brief History of Glasscock County (M.A. thesis, Texas Technological College, 1937). H. N. Phillips, "A History of Glasscock County, Texas," Permian Historical Annual 5 (1965). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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, Helen Wilkerson and Marilyn Read, "GARDEN CITY, TX," accessed August 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HLG04.

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