Merkel.jpg

MERKEL

1881-present

Merkel

By Janis C. Test


Merkel, in northwestern Taylor County, was founded in the early 1880s as the Texas & Pacific Railway pushed west, and was first known as Windmill Town. The community was a shipping point for the surrounding area, and in 1881, was renamed for its first settler, S. M. Merkel.


The first store was built in 1882, and the town gained a post office and telegraph station in 1883. The first school opened in 1884 with an enrollment of seven students. A college opened in 1887 and enrolled about 100 the next year. This institution lasted only four years. With a population of 25 in 1885, the town boomed to have 400 citizens by 1890. Merkel incorporated in 1906.


Agriculture, oil-related jobs and military-support jobs at nearby Dyess Air Force Base are staples of the local economy, as are jobs in Abilene for the population of 2,620. 


Sources:

Handbook of Texas

City of Merkel webpage

Image:

[View at Parade], photograph, Date Unknown; University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting McMurry University Library.