BORDEN, TX

Jeff Carroll

BORDEN, TEXAS. Borden is between Interstate Highway 10/U.S. Highway 90 and the Southern Pacific Railroad, four miles northeast of Weimar in southwestern Colorado County. Before the Civil War the area was known as Harvey's Creek Settlement. Soon after the war, however, Gail Borden, Jr., founder of the Borden Milk Company, returned to Texas and after building homes for himself, his sons, and his brother, John P. Borden, on the hills above the creek, named the settlement Bordenville. In 1872 the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway completed its line through the area. Borden invested $125,000 in the Borden Meat Preserving Company there in 1872. In 1873 the company built a slaughterhouse capable of handling twenty-five head daily and the facilities for preparing "extract of beef," roast beef, and beef hash. Borden also built a school for white children and a freedmen's' school for black children. Prospective residents, drawn by the railroad, available jobs, and land that sold for five to fifty-seven dollars an acre, flocked to the new community. On January 19, 1874, a post office was established with John P. Borden as postmaster. It continued in operation until 1905, when mail was rerouted through Weimar.

Although the processing plant operated for several years after Gail Borden's death in 1874, the higher rates charged by the railroad for shipping processed meat instead of live cattle ultimately forced the plant to close. By then, however, the community was well established, with a depot, a hotel, a gin, several stores, schools, and a resident population of more than 100. It was described in 1878 as a "snug little town" surrounded by lands that produced cotton, cane, and grain. During the 1930s the highway was moved about one-half mile south of the community, and some businesses moved to the new site. Most residences and the headquarters for a railroad section remained in the old location. The highway department built a two-acre impoundment beside the new U.S. 90, named it Borden Lake, and installed roadside picnic facilities. Schools in the area were consolidated with the Weimar Independent School District in 1948, and by that time all but one business in Borden had closed. The construction of I-10 during the late 1950s routed even more traffic away from the area, and the Old San Antonio Road became Colorado County 217. By the 1980s most of the land in the area had reverted to pasture, and a resident population of less than fifty and one business remained. In 2000 the population was sixty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Colorado County Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book (La Grange, Texas: Hengst Printing, 1986). Joe B. Frantz, Gail Borden: Dairyman to a Nation (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951). Mary Hinton, Weimar, Texas: First 100 Years, 1873–1973 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1973).

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Handbook of Texas Online, Jeff Carroll, "BORDEN, TX," accessed November 19, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrb46.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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