ADDITIONAL COMMUNITIES IN LIMESTONE COUNTY
Early settlers came around the 1830s. The railroads came about 30 years later. Every town established by a railroad has survived. The others, around 40, give or take, did not.
COOLIDGE was established in 1903 by a Railway from Hillsboro to Mexia but, lost it in 1942. Today, a museum occupies the former railroad depot.
Dr. E. DONNELL THOMAS grew up and graduated from High School here. In 1990, Dr. Thomas shared in a Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine for cell and organ transplantation. Later with his wife discovered bone marrow transplantation.
Site of the Annual Mesquite Tree Festival each May.
TEHUACANA is the highest point between Dallas and Houston and was considered to become the capitol of Texas. Trinity University was established in 1869 and later moved to Waxahachie in1902. Westminster College was operated here until 1942. The building still stands today.
Tehuacana’s only encounter with a railroad was in their turning it down for fear the noise might disturb the students.
THORNTON is on State Highway 14 nineteen miles southwest of Mexia in southwestern Limestone County. Settlement at the site began in 1868. The Houston and Texas Central Railway ran a line from Hearne to Groesbeck through the area in 1870, and Cain Hogan
settled on Steele Creek just west of the present townsite. The community became a stop on the railroad and was named for John E. Thornton, another early settler.
By 1926 Thornton had 733 residents, a deep water well, and telephone connections. The total enrollment in the local schools was 259 students. The next year the population reportedly rose to almost 2,000, and another bank was opened in town. By 1931 the population was back down to 739, and thirty-five businesses were located there. Between 1969 and 1989 Thornton had a population between 408 and 498, and the number of businesses was five. In 1990 the population stood at 540. The population was 525 in 2000.
The Mary Helen Nance Community Center was built in 2017 as a result of donations from Bailey and Mary Helen Campbell in honor of the Nance Family Heritage that is rooted deep in Limestone County. Mary Helen Campbell graduated from the Thornton School in 1938 which stood on this location from 1921 to 2015.
PRAIRIE HILL, unlike Thornton, did not get a railroad but, its soil was rich black loam and king cotton thrived on local farms. Like Thornton, the time came to change to ranching and the open prairies were well suited. For a time, a drag strip operated on the level prairie and drew large crowds to watch the exciting short strip races.