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 »

ZEPHYR, TX

Merle Bond Tilly

ZEPHYR, TEXAS. Zephyr is on U.S. Highway 84 twelve miles east of Brownwood in southeast Brown County. It was originally on the banks of Blanket Creek, a mile east of the present site. The town was supposedly named in 1850 by land surveyors who were trapped there by a blue norther. Their ironic name for the fierce wind stuck, and the town was named Zephyr. The Lazarus Vann family arrived in 1863 and was joined in 1876 by ten or twelve more families. J. M. Wilson opened a small store in 1878; a post office in the store opened a year later. A school was founded in 1876. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway completed the line from Brownwood to Lampasas in 1885, missing the town by about a mile. Wilson moved his store and the post office to the present site, and the next year Zephyr became a station on the railroad. In 1909 a tornado demolished the town, leaving more than twenty people dead and many injured. Rebuilding followed, and the population in 1940 was 750. A high school was built in 1940 and was still in use at the end of the 1980s. In 1958 Zephyr was voted an independent school district so that the few students there would not have to be bussed to a nearby school. As of 1989 churches in the town included the First Baptist, Methodist, and the Church of Christ. Cotton was the mainstay of the economy until the boll weevil devastation and market conditions led to the closing of the last gin in Zephyr in the early 1940s. In 1989 the town was primarily a farming and ranching community. From 1925 to 1950 it had a population of 750 but declined to 270 throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The population was 198 in 1980 and 1990, when the town had two businesses. In 2000 the population was 198 with eighteen businesses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Jesse B. Bettis and Mattie Baird, Zephyr Yesterday and Today (Brownwood, Texas: Banner Printing, 1980). Fred Tarpley, 1001 Texas Place Names (Austin: University of Texas Press, 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.

Citation

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Merle Bond Tilly, "ZEPHYR, TX," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlz03.

Uploaded on June 15, 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...