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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).
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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 March 24, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlz03.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.