Menard, Texas

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Menard is a city in and the county seat of Menard County, Texas, United States.[3] The population was 1,653 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

Menard is located at 30°55′10″N 99°47′4″W / 30.91944°N 99.78444°W / 30.91944; -99.78444 (30.919519, -99.784446)[4]. It is situated along the banks of the San Saba River at the junction of U.S. Highways 83 and 290, approximately 140 miles northwest of Austin and San Antonio in central Menard County.[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.3 km²), all of it land.

History

The community was first known as Menardville when the site was laid out in 1858, after the formation of Menard County.[6] Nearby Fort McKavett was deactivated in 1859, leaving the settlers with little protection from frequent Indian raids. The fort reopened after the Civil War. By 1867, Menardville had a store, blacksmith shop, and a saloon. The community served as a trading post and overnight stop on north and west cattle trails. The old compound of a Spanish mission that had been abandoned in the mid-18th century was used as a holding area for cattle on the way to market.[6] A county government was organized in 1871 and a two-story courthouse was built one year later. Menardville had approximately 150 residents by the mid-1880s. The San Saba River flooded in 1899, causing considerable damage to the community.

In 1910 or 1911, while the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Company were making plans to lay a track through the community, company officials asked residents to rename their town Menard in order to facilitate the painting of signs.[5] An economic boon followed the arrival of the first train in 1911. The 1920 census recorded 1,164 people living in Menard. For many years, he town served as the principal shipping point for Menard County. Although the community was impacted by the Great Depression, both of its banks – the Menard National Bank and Bevans State Bank – remained open. Menard's population stood at 1,969 in 1930, 2,375 in 1940, and 2,685 in 1950. That figure began to decline during the 1950s and 1960s as road improvements made travel and shipping less dependent on rail service. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad discontinued its service to Menard in 1972, but donated the depot to the county for use as a history museum. The Menard County Historical Society began collecting artifacts in 1975 and dedicated the museum in 1978. By 1980, there were 1,697 people living in Menard. In 1990, the population fell slightly to 1,606 before rebounding to 1,653 in 2000.[6]

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