ORCHARD, TEXAS. Orchard is at the intersection of Farm Road 1489 and State Highway 36, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe line thirteen miles west of Richmond in western Fort Bend County. In 1880 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built through what was to become the townsite. The community was promoted in 1890 by S. K. Cross, who sold tracts from his ranch to German, Bohemian, and Polish settlers. The Orchard community, named for early and unsuccessful attempts to raise fruit in the area, was granted a post office in 1893. In 1894 twelve families from Akron, Ohio, settled in Orchard. By 1896 the one-teacher Orchard school had forty-three pupils, and the town's estimated 250 residents were served by a Methodist church and a general store. From the 1920s through the early 1970s Orchard reported a population of 200. During the 1920s the community had three general stores, a telegraph office, a drugstore, a community dance hall, a cotton gin, and a gas station. By 1940 the town consisted of a school, a church, and four businesses. Several school districts consolidated with Orchard in 1948 to form the Orchard consolidated school district. The Orchard community began to grow somewhat in the 1970s and reported a population of 408 in 1982. In 1990 the population was 373 and in 2000 it was again listed as 408.
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Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.