COLOGNE, TEXAS. Cologne, on U.S. Highway 59 near the Victoria county line in eastern Goliad County, was established by two former slaves, Jim Smith and George Washington, as a place where freedmen could settle. Smith and Washington, who operated a freighting and passenger business from Indianola westward, bought 500 acres at the site on Perdido Creek. In 1870 the first families began moving into the settlement, initially called the Colony and later Perdido Community. The name Centerville was adopted after Jim Hall noted that the site was halfway between Goliad and Victoria. Until after the railroad was built the town excluded all white settlers.
In 1889 the Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific Railway established a depot at Centerville but named the stop Ira Station, the name by which the community was known for about ten years. Hall exchanged land for the depot for a lifetime job as station agent and the guarantee that the railroad would not abandon the station. The town became a cattle slaughtering and shipping center, reportedly with a hog rendering plant as well. In 1898 a post office was established under the name of Cologne through the efforts of William Young. The new name was adopted because the abattoirs made the community "such a sweet-smelling place." A Methodist church was established in 1880, then a Baptist, though both were destroyed in the 1930s. The Methodist church was rebuilt, but the Baptists began commuting to nearby Fannin. A one-room school served as the recreational center, and a permanent racetrack and a baseball team provided sport. In 1914 about thirty-five people were living in Cologne. The post office was discontinued in 1925, and the population declined to twenty-five by 1940. Thirty-five residents were recorded from 1970 through 1986. The railroad station and cattle pens no longer exist, though part of the original town is now the location of a large power plant. The town was mentioned in John F. Kennedy's June 1963 speech in Cologne, Germany, where the president said, "I bring you greetings from the cities of America, including the citizens of Cologne, Minnesota, Cologne, New Jersey, and even Cologne, Texas." In 1990 the population was eighty-five.
Goliad County Historical Commission, The History and Heritage of Goliad County, ed. Jakie L. Pruett and Everett B. Cole (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983). Frank X. Tolbert, "Tolbert's Texas" Scrapbook, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.