Location of Estelline, Texas
Estelline is a town located in Hall County, Texas, United States. The population in 2010 was 145.The population was estimated at 141 in 2013. In 2012, Estelline was ranked #1 in a National Motorists Associationlisting of its "Worst Speed Trap Cities" in North America (with a population of less than 50,000). Estelline often refers to itself as the "Town of Estelline", with a "Town Hall" and a "Town Council", rather than the customary "city" label. However, under Texas law, all incorporated municipalities are considered to be cities.
Estelline was established in 1892 by the brothers Elam and Math Wright. It was on the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway and was named for Estelle de Shields, daughter of an early settler. The area was originally part of the Diamond Tail Ranch. The Mill Iron range lay nearby, and after 1896 the Continental Land and Cattle Company moved its headquarters to a nearby bluff overlooking the Red River. A post office was opened in May 1892, and by 1894 Estelline had two hotels, a Methodist church, a cotton gin, a livery stable, and a one-room schoolhouse. Tom Macy opened the first store, and soon afterward T. R. Garrott established the Estelline Supply Company. In 1894 Math Wright obtained a depot and sidetrack for his town, and throughout the remainder of the decade Estelline was an important shipping point on the Fort Worth and Denver City line. Cattle from nearby Silverton and Paducah were driven there for shipment. In 1896 the Mill Iron Ranch bought the Estelline Supply Company and opened a large general merchandise store and lumberyard with R. L. Biggerstaff as manager. Two years later Biggerstaff established a private bank, which became the Estelline State Bank in 1905. The town had two newspapers, the Estelline Star (1894–96) and the Estelline News (1907–10). A two-story school was built in 1909. In 1912 the citizens of Estelline elected to incorporate with a mayor, a city marshal, and five aldermen. By then the town had attained a population of over 1,000.
The 1920s saw the erection of permanent brick school facilities, the emergence of a champion basketball team, and the organization of a town band conducted by Paul James. In 1927 the railroad began construction of a branch line out of Estelline to Plainview in Hale County. However, the Great Depression led to the closing of the bank and a decline in the population to 603 by 1940. That year two fires destroyed several businesses. Subsequent improvements in highway transportation led to an overall decline in Estelline's importance as a railroad junction town. The number of businesses dropped from fifteen in 1947 to four by 1980, when the population was 258. The town was still incorporated, and the post office remained open.
In 1983, Estelline citizens voted to allow the sale of alcohol beverages. Estelline is the only seller of alcohol beverages within 'dry' Hall County.Estelline has a reputation for being a prominent Texas speed trap and relies on speeders to pay its bills. The Estelline Independent School District was declared dormant in 1987 and students were sent to Memphis schools. Estelline was home to 194 residents in 1990, 168 in 2000 and 145 in 2010. In 2012, the Town Hall was mysteriously gutted by fire. Texas Rangers and the State Fire Marshal have both described the incident as arson.A highly publicized 2013 civil rights case revealed that 89 percent of Estellines 2012 gross revenue came from asset forfeiture and traffic fine revenue.
The Town of Estelline is served by the Memphis Independent School District located approximately 14 miles Northwest in Memphis, Texas.
Clarendon College - Childress Center is located approximately 15 miles Southeast in Childress, Texas. Clarendon College (Texas) is a Community College located in Clarendon, the seat of Donley County in the Texas Panhandle. The College operates branch campuses in Pampa and Childress.
As defined by the Texas Legislature, the official service area of Clarendon College is Armstrong, Briscoe, Childress,Collingsworth, Donley, Gray, Hall, and Wheeler counties.
The Estelline Outdoor Entertainment Association is a non-profit organization that exists to meet the needs of the local community, volunteers, and participants. The website: http://www.estellineoutdoorentertainment.com provides information about all fund raising events and functions to all those interested in participating. According to the website, the aim is to increase community awareness and aid those less fortunate, to provide community entertainment, involvement and to establish work programs for those willing to work.
Past E.O.E.A. Events:
Annual Red River Festival & Motorcycle Rally
Annual Texas State Barbecue Championship competition, known as the Ozark Trail Barbecue Cook-off
Live Music and Street Dance Fundraiser
Estelline School Reunion