MYRTLE SPRINGS, TX (VAN ZANDT COUNTY)
MYRTLE SPRINGS, TEXAS (Van Zandt County). Myrtle Springs is on State Highway 64 and Farm Road 1504 just off Interstate 20 six miles northwest of Canton in northwest Van Zandt County. The site is on a 3,000-acre plateau in the center of the oldest, most extensive fruit and nursery district in the county, also known for its rose gardens. Local farmers raise cucumbers, tomatoes, berries, and fruits as well. The springs at the site were first known as Holden Springs for J. M. (Uncle Mat) Holden, who bought 220 acres of land, including part of the current townsite, from R. A. Ferrell on January 8, 1872, and built a steam gin and mill. The community was renamed by nursery worker W. A. T. Murrey for the crape myrtle. In 1875 Mrs. L. H. Young bought adjacent land, and Brigham Young started a nursery for fruit trees and flowering shrubs. A Grange was established by 1876. A post office operated in 1878 and again from 1887 to 1907. The town became an industrial, residential, and resort community when the M.S. Investment Company was organized on December 15, 1891, to promote the sulfur-water springs as a health resort. Myrtle Springs was platted and laid out in 1892 and incorporated on March 7, 1893. Construction of a two-story hotel and an influx of new residents followed. Alex Allen, who lost the right to operate a saloon in a vote for prohibition on September 9, 1893, contested the incorporation and won his case in an election on July 29, 1895. In the 1890s Myrtle Springs had a population of 100, hotels, a general store, dance halls, a school, a park with a fleet of gondolas, a canning factory, buggy and broom factories, a brick sugar house, saw and grist mills, the Herald, and a nursery. The local school, where enrollment reached 120 in 1906, was consolidated with the Wills Point Independent School District in 1977. By the 1920s Myrtle Springs had a brick school, two churches, a lodge hall, three broom factories, several blocks of businesses, and a nursery. The population reached 375 in 1931, dropped briefly, rose again to 390 in 1947, then fell to 131 by 1988. In 1950 Myrtle Springs was a local retail center with three churches and five grocery stores, but it had only two churches and scattered dwellings in 1981. In 1990 and again in 2000 the population was still recorded as 131.
William Samuel Mills, History of Van Zandt County (Canton, Texas, 1950). Mary E. Valandingham, Early Scholastic Records for Van Zandt County (Center, Texas, 1968).