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County
San Patricio
Region
Gulf Coast
Population
2010 Census - 3,048
2000 Census - 3,396
Nearby
Towns
Taft, Texas
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Taft Texas History:
In 1886, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line across the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company Land (known locally as the Taft Ranch) and built a flag stop at the request of Thomas M. Coleman. The Coleman-Fulton company built cattle shipping pens on the railroad line. The settlement that developed around these pens and the flag stop was initially called Mesquital, after the nearby Mesquital Mill windmill. In 1900, Joseph F. Green took over management of the company and built a company town at the railroad stop. He named the town Taft. Due to boom and bust in land sales, a large number of empty buildings were available in Portland, Aransas Pass, and Rockport. Green moved several of these buildings to Taft to start his town. A bunkhouse from the Ranch headquarters was moved to town and later was turned into a hotel. At this time, all the land around Taft was devoted to ranching, and Taft remained a company town for 17 years. The Taft post office was established in 1904. In 1903 the company planted 200 acres of cotton, and by 1909 over 2,300 acres were planted in cotton. In 1909. the first dependable water source on the Gulf Coast was discovered in Taft. Within weeks of this discovery the company started construction of an agricultural industrial complex to process farm products. A slaughter and packing house, a cold storage and ice factory, a light plant, a cottonseed oil mill, and cotton gins were built. Later a feed mill, a cotton compress, and a creamery were added. These additions almost guaranteed a market for farm goods to anyone purchasing land over the next two decades. In June 1921, over 5,000 people attended a land auction, and Taft became a privately owned community. The company sold its last land holdings in 1928. The company’s last office now belongs to the Taft Blackland Museum and is used to display pioneer items from the ranch era. Taft incorporated in 1929. Oil was discovered in 1935. Today the vegetable sheds have been torn down, and two grain elevators now serve local farmers who plant sorghum, cotton, and a limited amount of corn. The town’s entrance sign reads “Nicest Little Cotton-Picking Town in Texas.” Taft is located on U.S. 181 and the Southern Pacific Railroad, 31 miles southeast of Mathis and Lake Corpus Christi, 8 miles southeast of Sinton, 8 miles northwest of Gregory, 25 miles northwest of Port Aransas, and 18 miles north of Corpus Christi, Texas.
 
Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“The Coleman, Mathis, Fulton Cattle Company was formed in 1871 by partners George Ware Fulton, Youngs Coleman, Tom Coleman, Thomas Henry Mathis, and J.M. Mathis, with headquarters in Rockport, the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, with 167, 000 acres of land, was organized in 1879 after the Mathis cousins left the partnership. Fulton was a pioneer in fencing of the open south Texas range and in shipping cattle by boat from company wharves. Continuing financial problems led Fulton to borrow funds for the company from David Sinton of Ohio. Eventually Sinton gained control of the company and at his death willed his interest of his daughter, Anna, wife of Charles P. Taft. The company became known locally as the Taft Ranch. Joseph F. Green became Manager in 1900 and built the ranch into one of the largest and most innovative in the state, introducing new crops and cattle breeds. The city of Taft was formed in 1904 as a company town and was sold at auction in 1921. Constructed in 1923, this building was the last headquarters for the Taft Ranch. By 1928 all ranch enterprises had been sold. The company's charter expired in 1980, leaving the town of Taft as its legacy.”  The marker is located in Taft at the corner of Green Avenue and Gregory Street.
 
Taft Agricultural Industrial Complex Texas Historical Marker Text:
“The Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company laid out the town of Taft on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad line in 1900. The intention of the company directors was to President Taft and surrounding farms as a mode community to attract northern investors. By 1904 a post office and a company commissary had opened near the rail Line and soon other businesses and homes were built nearby to promote the areas economic possibilities and the ease with which potential farmers and ranchers could market their products the company planned a large agricultural industrial complex in the center of town by 1909 they had built a slaughter and packing house, a cold storage facility and ice plant and a cottonseed oil mill by 1901 the complex also included two cotton gins, a feed mill cotton compress, creamery and ice cream factory and machine shop. As the company plan came to fruition, settlement and land values increased and the company realized a profit as it began selling off all of its holdings. Once solely a company town Taft soon became diversified as the company, presence gradually disappeared, some of the industrial complex facilities remained in operation under private ownership until the 1950s.” The marker is located in Taft on U.S. 81 near Packing House Avenue.
 
President William Howard Taft Visits Taft, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“In 1908, Charles P. Taft, director of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company (also known as Taft Ranch) extended an invitation to his half-brother, newly-elected President William Howard Taft, to visit the 165,000-acre Taft Ranch and the Taft community. The President agreed to come in October 1909. Charles Taft and ranch manager Joseph F. Green immediately began preparations for the event. Green had a nine-hole golf course built at La Quinta, his estate near Gregory where the President would stay during his visit. He also built the 22-room Green Hotel in Gregory to house the press corps and additional visitors. President Taft's special railroad car arrived in Gregory on October 20, 1909. An automobile procession took the presidential party to La Quinta, where they were greeted by Texas Governor Thomas M. Campbell. The following day the President visited Taft, where he spoke to citizens assembled at the local school and enjoyed ice cream at the company creamery. A barbeque and rodeo were held at the Rincon Ranch in the President's honor, and he later visited Corpus Christi, where he spoke to a crowd of 15,000 people.” The marker is located at the corner of Victoria and Lirlpatrick Streets.
 
Taft Blackland Museum:
The museum in housed in a former office building of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company. It displays many items from the early days of Taft and San Patricio County including vintage photos, arrowheads, barb-wire, rocks and gems, cotton wagons, agricultural equipment, a blacksmith shop, a Boy and Girl Scouts room, a military museum, physician and dentist displays, and a Barbie Doll collection. Green’s furnished office contains early ranch maps and company files. Open Thu-Fri, 10am-12 noon and 1pm-4pm; Sat, 10am-2pm; Sun, Sun, 2pm-5pm. (361) 528-2206. 301 Green Avenue, Taft, TX 78390.
 
Taft Public Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, fax and copy machines, magazines, DVDs, Book CDs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. The library is open Mon, Wed & Fri, 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm; Tue & Thu, 10am-12pm and 1pm-7pm. (361) 528-3512. 503 Green Avenue.
 
Papalote Creek Wind Farm:
The farm has 109 turbines that provide 179.85 megawatts of power; enough to power 54,000 homes. The wind farm is located just west of Taft.