About Tolar

FACTS

Local Area Code: 254 Time Zone: Central DST: Y
Location: (by ZIP) 32.407909 N, -97.838613 W
Population: (2010 census) = 681 (city)
Median age: (2000 census) 35.8 yrs.
Population: (by ZIP) = 2,145
Area: (by ZIP) 117.33 sq.mi. 0.2% water. Elevation: 1020 Ft.

The City of Tolar is located in Hood County, Texas.

Time Zone: Tolar lies in the Central Time Zone (CST/CDT) and observes daylight savings time.

HISTORY

Namesake: Captain Alfred H.H. Tolar (1845 - 1927)

THE HISTORY OF TOLAR

Hood County was organized on November 1, 1866. After three elections, Granbury was named the county seat. There were many people in the Tolar area before it became a town, even before Hood became a county. Early settlers were in the Paluxy Valley, the area southeast of Tolar near the Powell Cemetery and the Antioch area, as well as the Tolar area.

The Paluxy Valley had many settlers, according to Janet L. Saltsgiver, author of “Tour of the Dinosaur Valley and Paluxy Town-Site". There were people in the valley as early as the 1840's. Many people were attracted to the fertile land around the Paluxy River. The water supply along the river helped in making good farms and homes. A mill was located near Paluxy on the banks of the river. In the early days, people would come from miles around to have corn and other grain ground at the mill. Some people would camp out for as long as two weeks to have their grain ground at the mill.

In 1920 Ray Shaver, a Tolar School student, wrote an essay about the Antioch area, another site of very early settlers. Mr. Shaver interviewed many older people who could remember living in the Antioch area before Tolar was a town. People came to this area after the Civil War looking for farming land. They settled near the headwaters of Squaw Creek. The creek starts on the old Barton place on land now owned by the Lofton Family. There were at least three schools and a church in the area.

About three miles southeast of Tolar was the land settled in the late 1850's by W.G.W. "Uncle Billy" Powell. He cleared the land and farmed in a time before the Civil War. The settlement was called Amulet. A church and school were also in this area. The school was the first to be moved to Tolar. The church was also moved at the same time. The church was the Amulet Christian Church, now the Tolar Church of Christ.

In late 1881, John R. Powell, "Uncle Billy's" son, moved to the location that is now Tolar. He started a store on the location of the now Tolar Church of Christ. His one-room frame store was thought to be the first business in Tolar. Another early merchant was G.W. Fitzhugh. Mr. Powell and Mr. Fitzhugh were the first people with stores in the area. Colonel W.L. McGaughey was an early leader of the town. He was a former state Land Commissioner who came to Tolar to farm and do business. Colonel McGaughey later donated the land the Tolar school has built all of their school buildings on.

THE COMING OF THE RAILROAD

In 1889, the Fort Worth and Rio Grand Railroad was built through Tolar and southwest to Bluff Dale. The railroad later was built on to Brownwood. The coming of the railroad greatly increased the prosperity for the area. A man named Dorethy was the first depot agent when the new depot was built. The railroad took many hours of work to keep the track repaired. A group of men called a "Snipe Gang" was hired in most of the towns to repair the track. Their work was very hard, but the pay was good so men of the town had good jobs working on the railroad. The only known member of the gang is Earnest Newman, grandfather of Richard O'Neal.

The railroad called the new flag-stop "Squaw Creek Station." Some of the citizens thought they should have another name. They called a meeting to discuss names and Colonel McGaughey suggested they name the town "Tolar" in honor of his friend Captain Alfred H.H. Tolar, a newspaperman from Houston and former Civil War hero. It is not known if Capatain Tolar ever visited the town which was named in his honor. There are several other stories about how Tolar was named; however, this one seems to be the most credible. "The Handbook of Texas" reports this is how Tolar was named.

With the coming of the railroad, mail was delivered regularly. The first postmaster was John R. Powell. The farmers in the area now had a good way to ship and receive goods. The town prospered.

TOLAR AFTER 1900

After 1900, some of the events that happened in Tolar to shape the history during this century were: the disastrous fire in 1909; the town's incorporation in 1910; receiving electricity in the 1920's; and its reorganization in the 1970's in order to have a new water and sewer system.

The 1909 fire was a great disaster for the city. Most of the buildings burned. It was reported that after the fire, there were only four buildings left. Only stone buildings were built to replace the buildings that had been burned. In 1923, even one of the new stone buildings burned and damaged the buildings on either side.

In 1910 the city was incorporated. City officials were elected for the first time. The mayor and city council worked to improve the city. At one time, there was a bank, hotel, several restaurants and some general stores in Tolar. During this time, there was a cotton gin located west of the Methodist Church across Highway 56. A cotton gin was located across from the present-day Quick Stop Store. There was also one on the south side of the railroad track near Max Meyer's house. There was also a telephone office and a blacksmith shop, which was operated for many years by Leek O'Neal.

In the 1920's, Mayor Frank Curl and councilmen Aze Eddleman and R.P. Campbell worked hard to have electricity installed. J.D. Sargent says they were instrumental in getting this accomplishment for the town. After many years without a city government, the town reincorporated in the 1970's in order to get a new water and sewer system. Several new houses were built when a better water system was installed.

Note: If you have any historic pictures of Tolar you would like to share, please submit them to the City Of Tolar.