Praries & Lakes
2010 Census - 685
2000 Census - 345
McDade, Texas
McDade Texas History:
The town was established in 1869 in anticipation t the Houston and Texas Central Railroad building a line through the area. The townsite was donated by James Wilkins McDade and Richard R. Peebles who were also stockholders of the railroad. The first train arrived in 1869, and the town was platted shortly thereafter. The first business was a saloon selling whiskey for ten cents a tin cup. The presence of the railroad enabled McDade to become a shipping center for area cotton growers and a regional freight center. The post office was established before McDade incorporated in 1873. By 1884, the town had a school, saloon, a cotton gin and a Baptist Church. From after the Civil War through 1912, McDade was the scene of violence and gunfights due to the presence of area outlaws. By 1890 the town had a newspaper and 250 residents. That same year, the well-known McDade Pottery was moved to McDade from Bishop. Today, McDade has six potteries attracted by the rich clay deposits. By the mid-1890s, the town had two physicians, three churches, the school, two blacksmiths, two milliners, and the pottery and cotton gin. The town’s population declined between the 1930s and the late 1960s. By the mid-1950s, McDade Pottery and other businesses had closed and the town had 220 residents. Today, McDade is primarily an agricultural community and is well known for its watermelons and its annual Watermelon Festival. In 2000, the town had 26 businesses. McDade is located at the intersections of U.S. 290, FM 2336 and CR 333 (Old Highway 20), 35 miles east of Austin, 37 miles southeast of Granger, 26.7 miles southeast of Taylor, 19 miles southeast of Coupland, 10 miles southeast of Elgin, 21 miles northwest of Giddings, 32 miles northwest of Smithville, and 15 miles northeast of Bastrop, Texas.
Historic Town of McDade, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Laid out 1871: Named for Jas. McDade, Brenham lawyer. Became a thriving town. Important freight center and early days stage stoop. School – Church was built 1872. Vigilantes (Organized 1883) lynched three men on Christmas Eve, causing a shoot-out next day at the Rock Saloon (now a museum).”
Historic Rock Front Saloon, 1870, Texas Historical Medallion Text:
“Rock Front Saloon, 1870. Stagecoach stand, U.S. Post Office, early business house, scene of revenge gunfight, 1883.” The Rock Front Saloon now houses the McDade Historical Society Museum. The historical marker is located in front of the building at the intersection of Main Street and U.S. 290’s Loop 223 in McDade. Email
Historic McDade Baptist Church, 1880, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“This congregation was organized on July 18, 1880, under the leadership of the Rev. J. D. Wright, who also served as first pastor. Originally known as the McDade Baptist Church of Christ, the fellowship worshiped in a Union Church building shared with other denominations. In 1900, the Baptists purchased the Union Building from the other congregations, and it served as the church's sanctuary until 1948, when an Army Chapel, purchased from nearby Camp Swift, was moved to this site. With an emphasis on worship and education, the McDade Baptist Church has been a strong part of the community's cultural and religious history.” The historical marker located at 198 El Paso Street.
Historic Three Oaks (Goerlitz) Cemetery, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“The earliest marked graves on this site were those of infant Peter Goerlitz and two-year-old Emma Goerlitz. The property was primarily a family cemetery until 1893, when Peter Kellermier deeded one acre for burial purposes. The cemetery was long associated with the Catholic Church located on its north side, and was known as the Catholic Cemetery. The church declined in the early 1930s; the site became known as the Goerlitz Cemetery because of the number of family members interred there. In 1975 the name was changed to Three Oaks to better represent all those interred here. There are thought to be unmarked graves and lost headstones. Veterans of World War I and World War II also are interred here. Three Oaks Cemetery continues to serve the surrounding area.” From U.S. 290 a short distance northwest of McDade, go north on Three Oak Cemetery Road.