Zulch -- Madison Co. TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 30° 53.025 W 096° 05.698
14R E 777724 N 3420334
Quick Description: There are three Zulches here: the original town of Zulch (now a ghost town), the town of North Zulch, and the South Zulch Lake (built to supply water to steam locomotives, now a swimming hole).
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 2/25/2014 11:21:16 AM
Waymark Code: WMK7X3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 2

Long Description:
The waymark coordinates are at the Willowhole Church and Cemetery, all that remains of the old townsite of Zulch.

The town of Zulch started as a trading post in the 1830s and started fading after the Houston & Texas Central railroad passed it by in the 1870s. North Zulch sprang up 2 miles north to be on the railroad. North Zulch flourished as Zulch declined. Today only a street sign for Zulch Rd remains at the site of the original town of Zulch, but the unincorporated community of North Zulch has residents, schools, a gas station, and some churches.

From the Handbook of Texas online: (visit link)

"ZULCH, TEXAS. Zulch was on the headwaters of Kickapoo Creek near the junction of Farm roads 39 and 1372, eleven miles southwest of Madisonville in southwestern Madison County. Settlement in the vicinity began in the late 1830s when the Robert Moseley family established a homestead in what was then northern Grimes County. About 1850 a young itinerant merchant named Julius Zulch, a recent immigrant from Kassel, Germany, built a log house and general store near a watering hole on the trail from Midway to Boonville, a spot which had been used by travelers for many years as an overnight camping ground.

A post office known as Willow Hole was established at the Zulch store in December 1859. Most of the early settlers were migrants from southern states, but the community grew slowly until the late 1870s, when Julius Zulch, by then a prosperous merchant and cotton grower eager to attract labor to make his land yet more productive, began promoting the advantage of Madison County agriculture among farmers in Germany and lending them money for passage to the United States. Considerable numbers of German immigrants, many from the province of Posen, took up residence near Willow Hole in the early 1880s, often farming as tenants on the property of Zulch and other landowners until they had saved enough money to purchase land of their own. Willow Hole soon became a thriving agricultural trade center. By 1884 the town had five churches, three general stores, a school, several steam-powered gristmills and cotton gins, and a population of 150. The population continued to escalate rapidly and by 1890 reached an estimated 500.

Julius Zulch constructed a parochial school offering Lutheran education and German-language instruction, and the building doubled as the site of Lutheran worship until 1893, when the Bethlehem Lutheran Church was erected on land donated by Zulch. By 1896 Willow Hole had an estimated population of 300 and ten businesses, including five general stores and two cotton gins. The town had daily stage service and a common school with an enrollment of sixty-two students.

The town and its post office were renamed Zulch in 1906. That year the Houston and Texas Central Railroad constructed its Navasota-Mexia branch line through western Madison County on a route bypassing Zulch to the west. By 1907 when the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway built its Iola-Normangee spur along the same right-of-way parallel to the Houston and Texas Central tracks, most of the residents and businesses had already begun moving from Zulch northward two miles to the rail lines, where the town of North Zulch sprang up.

Zulch declined rapidly, and by 1920 its post office had been discontinued. Although there were still 146 pupils enrolled at the Zulch School as late as 1935, in the early 1940s the school was consolidated with North Zulch and Madisonville districts, and the schoolhouse was demolished. By 1949 the town's population had dropped to an estimated fifty and continued to plummet. By the 1960s only the Willow Hole Church and Cemetery on Farm Road 1372 remained to mark the former townsite."

North Zulch succeeded where Zulch itself failed:

"NORTH ZULCH, TEXAS. North Zulch is at the intersection of State Highway 21 and U.S. Highway 190, six miles from the Navasota River and thirteen miles west of Madisonville in west central Madison County. It was established in 1907 when citizens of Zulch moved north to relocate along the newly constructed Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway, which had bypassed the old town. Telegraph service was established with the coming of the railroad. The Mexia Cut-off, a branch of the Houston and Texas Central Railway, was surveyed through the region, and two lakes known as the South Zulch and North Zulch reservoirs were prepared as watering places for the trains' steam engines.

In 1908 a post office was established and a public school was organized in North Zulch. Classes were held in the Freewill Baptist Church until the following spring, when a two-story frame building was erected. In 1920 M. J. Webb became the editor and publisher of the first newspaper published in North Zulch, when the Christian Commonwealth was moved from Madisonville. Before 1932, when State Highway 21 was built, dirt roads served the area. Farm Road 39 was built on the roadbed of the old Houston and Texas Central. In 1931 the population of North Zulch peaked at 1,000, and the town was one of the three major communities in Madison County. By the later 1930s its population had stabilized at 400. In the mid-1960s the population dropped to 100; it was the same in 1990. The number of businesses declined from forty in 1931 to two in 1990.

The town of Zulch was named in honor of Julius Zulch (see ZULCH, TEXAS). After his death, North Zulch was built on land from the Zulch estate. In 1906 Julius's son, Will Zulch, donated land for the construction of the Mexia Cut-off, and the town of North Zulch was established "astride the tracks." Julius Zulch and many of his family members are buried at the Willowhole Cemetery, two miles south of North Zulch."
Reason for Abandonment: Economic

Date Abandoned: 1/1/1960

Related Web Page: [Web Link]

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Zulch -- Madison Co. TX 2/26/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it