Zephyr is an unincorporated community located in Brown County, Texas, United States. According to the Handbook of Texas, the community had an estimated population of 198 in 2000.
Zephyr is located at (31.6759884, -98.7947697). It is situated along U.S. Highway 84 in southeastern Brown County, approximately 12 miles east of Brownwood and 54 miles southwest of Stephenville.
The community was initially located on the banks of Blanket Creek in 1850. The name Zephyr, meaning soft, gentle wind, was first used by land surveyors who were trapped in the area during a blue norther. In 1863, the Lazarus Vann family arrived in the vicinity. They were joined by other families over the next few years. A school was founded in 1876. Zephyr's first store opened in 1878 and a post office was established the following year. In 1885, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway completed a line from Brownwood to Lampasas that missed Zephyr by approximately a mile. Store owner J.M. Wilson moved his store and the post office one mile east to its present site. The community would later become a station on the railroad. On May 30, 1909, an F4 tornado struck Zephyr, killing 34 people and injuring 70. Most of the deaths occurred in residential areas on the southern and eastern sides of the community. To date, the Zephyr tornado remains one of the deadliest tornadoes in the state's history. The community rebuilt and experienced a long period of growth. By 1940, the population stood at approximately 750. A new high school was constructed that same year. Zephyr's economy was dependent on cotton, but a boll weevil infestation and deteriorating market conditions caused the community's last gin to close in the early 1940s. The population had fallen below 300 during the 1960s and remained at that level into the 1970s. During the final decades of the 20th century, Zephyr was home to around 198 people. That figure remained constant through 2000.
Although it is unincorporated, Zephyr has a post office with the zip code of 76890.
Public education in the community of Zephyr is provided by the Zephyr Independent School District. The district has one campus that includes both Zephyr Elementary School (grades K-6) and Zephyr High School (grades 9-12).