Origin & Development of the City of Nevada, TX
Nevada is on Farm Road 1138, 2 miles east of Lavon Lake in southeastern Collin County. The rich soil and available water provided by Bear Creek attracted settlers to the area as early as the mid-1840s. The first organized community in the area was McMinn Chapel, established in the early 1840s, 4 miles north of the present Nevada site.
For the most part, the community residents were the family and friends of its founder, John McMinn. In 1861 Granville Stinebaugh moved to Texas from Missouri and purchased 160 acres of land near McMinn Chapel. Shortly after that, Nevada's town was established on his farm and named by Stinebaugh in honor of Nevada Territory, which he had passed through to search for gold in California. The town received a post office on August 3, 1880. Eight years later, the tracks of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the community.
How the City Flourished
In 1889 Nevada incorporated an aldermanic form of government. From the 1880s to the 1920s, Nevada served as a retail market for a small but populous farming territory. The population of the town grew from an estimated 50 in 1885 to 578 in 1920. By 1925 Nevada provided its 625 residents with paved roads, electricity, a telephone exchange, twenty-five businesses, and a high school.
On May 9, 1927, a Tornado struck the town—27 people were killed, 75 were injured, and approximately $1 million in property damage occurred. Rescuers tended to the wounded in the shelter of the existing Nevada Baptist Church.
Population Census Through the Years
The Great Depression and the mechanization of farming further retarded the growth of the town. By 1950 the population had decreased to 386, and it remained near this figure for the next 30 years. In 1980 Nevada had an estimated 400 residents served by four businesses. In 1990 the population was 456. The population was 822 in 2010.
Exploring Its History
Could Lake Lavon have been named "Lake Thompson Switch?" Who was Josephine? What are the Gumbo Pits, and how did Nevada (nuh-vay-duh) get its name?
Where was Milltown, and what was the Central National Road?
Answers to questions like that were explored by those who boarded the seventh annual Collin County Cruise under the direction of the Collin County Historical Commission and the County Coalition of Historic Groups.
The Central National Road was the area's first road, extending from John Neely Bryan's crossing on the Elm Fork bank of the Trinity River in Dallas County to Travis Wright's landing on the south bank of the Red River opposite the mouth of the Kiamichi River. The road crossed through Collin County just west of Josephine's present site and connected with existing roads that enabled international traffic between St. Louis and San Antonio. The road put Collin County on the map.
Before it was Lavon, the community was Thompson Switch, named for the early postmaster Elbert C. Thompson. The subsequent name Lavon was from Thompson's son, Lavon "Bud" Thompson.
In the 1840s, travelers along a major trail from Bonham to Dallas would camp on the creek near Millwood's early settlement, the site of three mills, a school, a church, and the homes of nearly 200 people. The only reminders of the town are some grinding stones and the well-maintained Millwood Cemetery, overlooking a hilly landscape containing Indian ceremonial mounds.
How the City Got Its Name
Two stories explain Nevada's name. Granville Stinebaugh bought the original 160-acre site for $480 and chose the name, and some say because he liked the sound of it when he was on his way to California for the 1849 Gold Rush. Others say he chose the name as a reminder of his hometown, Nevada, Mo., which uses the same pronunciation.
Stinebaugh's chosen home flourished until May 9, 1927, when a Tornado ripped through, killing 27 people and injuring 75 more. Rescuers tended to the wounded in the Nevada Baptist Church's shelter, where the bloodstains on pews remain apparent to this day.
When. J.C. Hubbard founded a town in 1888. He named Josephine for his daughter. The Farmersville settler gave the 4-acre site to the St. Louis Arkansas and Texas Railroad. Fire razed the town in 1910 and in 1935.
Near the town, the railroad (since named the Cotton Belt RR) manufactured Ballast Gumbo Gravel by burning wood with a combination of local clay. The large pits no longer produce the synthetic gravel for bedding cross ties. They are now popular fishing holes.