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GARDEN VALLEY, TEXAS. Garden Valley is at the intersection of State Highway 110 and Farm Road 16, seven miles west of Lindale in northwestern Smith County. It is on land that was originally part of the Edward B. Ragsdale survey. A post office opened there in 1852 with James S. Davidson as postmaster. By 1858 the community had a church, a Masonic hall, and an academy. The Garden Valley Common School System had been established by 1860, when the census listed three male teachers there. Postal service to Garden Valley was discontinued in 1868 and resumed in 1870. In 1878 Dr. G. W. Matthews became the local physician. By 1884 the settlement was shipping fruit and cotton by railroad from nearby Lindale. At that time, Garden Valley had 100 inhabitants, including a blacksmith, a physician, a grocer, and a teacher; it also had a gin and gristmill, two churches, a school, and two general stores. In 1889 C. W. Matthews and Company established a store there. In 1903 the town had a three-teacher school for 110 white students and a one-teacher school for thirty-five black students. In 1914 Garden Valley's population reached 300, and the community had four cotton gins, six general stores, and a telephone company. By the mid-1930s the community consisted of a small collection of dwellings, a factory, three other businesses, a church, a cemetery, and black and white schools, which served roughly the same number of students as they had in 1903. The post office was discontinued during the 1930s. Population estimates had dropped to 150 by the mid-1940s and remained at that level through the early 1990s. By 1952 the Garden Valley school had been consolidated into the Van Independent School District in Van Zandt County, and in 1959 Garden Valley had a church, a cemetery, and a few farms. In the early 1980s county highway maps showed one business there. The population in 2000 was 150.


Chronicles of Smith County, Spring 1966, Spring 1967, Spring 1968, Fall 1969. Edward Clayton Curry, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Smith County, Texas (M.Ed. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). Smith County Historical Society, Historical Atlas of Smith County (Tyler, Texas: Tyler Print Shop, 1965). Albert Woldert, A History of Tyler and Smith County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1948).

Vista K. McCroskey


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

Vista K. McCroskey, "GARDEN VALLEY, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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