Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Visting the Past... Dexter, Texas

The small derelict town of Dexter, Texas lies about 10 miles from my parent's farm in Callisburg, Texas yet in a decade of living in the area this was the first time I went there in search of the remnants.

History Lesson of the Day:

Founded in the mid 1860's, Dexter was the last stop for travelers headed north to Oklahoma before crossing the Red River. Outlaws on the run would commonly seek refuge in the town as they fled to Oklahoma.

By the early 1880s its population of 300 was served by at least thirty-seven businesses, including four blacksmith shops, three hotels, a district school, two steam gristmills and cotton gins, four physicians and somewhere between four and eight bars. Dexter was expected to overtake Gainesville as the largest town in Cooke County when residents thought the Denison and Pacific Railway was going to
pass through it. However when the rail line passed through Woodbine, a small town twenty miles south, Dexter began to decline.

All that remains in this once wild town from the old west is a church and several farm houses that sit among decayed traces of its former glory.

I drove up there with my step-father, I on the hunt for beautiful photos of the derelict remains, my Dad on the hunt for ghosts and orb filled photos! =)

When you round the corner, passing the church the first thing you notice is the tall structure that is known as the School Auditorium. We parked on a small street that runs beside it and walked over to the building. The trees and brush were thick on all sides but there was a well worn path that led right up to the front door.

These are views of the Auditorium exterior, top photo was taken in 1995, the bottom in 2003. ( Source: jimmy75020 )

I was kind of worried about the stability of the floor since there were rotten and broken spots in several areas but we had no trouble while inside. My Dad even went up on the stage to take photos - I was not so brave.

Looking up from the entrance...

East corner of the building...

This is my favorite photo of the day...Interior, West Corner

After exploring the auditorium for a while we made our way to the east of the building and found the remains of what is called the "Barber Shop" it was a small shack of a building that stood in-tact until around 2000 before it finally gave way to time and the elements.

Standing in the fallen doorway...

Photos of the Barber Shop. The top photo is the interior in 1995, mid photo is the exterior in 2003 and the bottom is the interior in 2003. ( Source: jimmy75020 )

A little further east you notice this concrete trim forms a box around the bank site. Hidden a few yards back in the tress and brush is the bank vault.

The vault is an amazing site. Just to think that it's been there since the days of the Wild West is so incredible. And the fact that the shutter doors are still in-tact was a real treat. We were loosing daylight quickly at this point and I hate all the photos I took of the door trim and front side of the vault but we do plan to go back, earlier in the day so we can stay longer and get even more photos.

Bank Vault remains in 2003. ( Source: jimmy75020 )

There wasn't much light left at all when I realized that the tall brick chimney across the street was from the old two story hotel. I was unable to get any decent pictures of it but it's my top priority on my return!

Photos of the Dexter Hotel. Top left is a black and white found in an old book. Top right is a painting (source unknown). Bottom left is the remains in 2000. Bottom right is what was left around 2004. ( Source: jimmy75020 )

Unfortunately this site has no historic markers and nothing is being maintained. It's only a matter of time before it is all lost to time and nature and I hope to document it in photos many more times before it's gone completely. It's a real treasure nestled in the crook of nowhere...

You can view the entire album of photos here on my personal Facebook account.


  1. I enjoyed looking at your pics. I grew up close to Dexter (1970's) and it never dawned on me to take pictures or exployer the buildings before time took it's toil on them.

  2. Great pictures I really enjoyed viewing. My Grandfather Robert B. Wells was born in Dexter, TX on Feb. 15th 1889. Thanks HW


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