Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Doucette Texas -- not quite in the middle of nowhere

Doucette is an unincorporated community in central Tyler CountyTexas, United States. It lies along U.S. Route 69 north of the town of Woodville, the county seat of Tyler County. Its elevation is 331 feet (101 m). Although Doucette is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 75942. -- Wikipedia

A few miles southwest of Doucette, is a Starbucks, on U.S. Highway 287. The Starbucks might be said to be in the middle of nowhere, but it is just off a U.S. highway, so nowhere isn’t where the Starbucks is.

Photos at the Starbucks show pickups and cars waiting in line to by what has been described as “burned and overpriced coffee.” Given the location, I cannot imagine a Texan ordering a double latte spritz cappuccino with chocolate and cinnamon no sugar. Or however Starbucks coffee is ordered. The one time I went to a Starbucks, I ordered coffee. That’s it. That cup of burned coffee cost $6.

In another photo, a blonde barista is at work behind a sign that says “Blonde Espresso.”

The Handbook of Texas has a bit more information than does Wikipedia, but no mention of a Starbucks.

“Doucette is on U.S. Highway 69 and the Southern Pacific Railroad three miles north of Woodville in central Tyler County.

"In 1834 Elijah Hanks received a land grant in the area. A community coalesced around a sawmill built in 1890 by Alva Carrolls and for a while was known as Carrolls' Switch.

"In 1891 Carrolls was bought out by William McCready, a Mr. Bodev, and Pete Doucette, for whom the community was renamed. A post office was established in 1893, and sawmill operator William McCready was the first postmaster. The sawmill was eventually bought by Samuel F. Carter and his brother, whose partnership firm was called the Emporia Lumber Company. Before Emporia ceased operating the mill in 1906, Doucette had become one of the leading towns in East Texas.

"The Emporia Lumber Company was followed at Doucette by the Thompson Brothers Lumber Company, which later sold out to Fidelity Lumber Company. Fidelity was succeeded in 1911 by Long-Bell Lumber Company and in 1956 by International Paper Company, which still maintains an office and yard in Doucette. However, the sawmill there has been closed down since 1944.

"During Long-Bell's ownership of the mill, Doucette prospered. The company had a commissary where everything "from bassinets to caskets" could be purchased. The town also had a drugstore, a doctor, a bank, a railroad station, and a post office.

"Civic and cultural aspects of the town included groups like the Masons, the Woodmen of the World, the Boy Scouts, and the PTA. There were traveling circuses and medicine shows, a little theater group, baseball, and church revivals and picnics. On the darker side, the Ku Klux Klan was active locally.

"During the 1920s the population in Doucette reached its height at 1,800. In the 1930s it fell to around 500 people, served by about eight businesses.

"From 1943 to the late 1960s the population remained 250, and from 1970 to 1988 Doucette had 130 residents and four businesses.

"Though the heyday of lumber production at Doucette was during the early decades of the twentieth century, as late as 1946 the mills there were producing thirty cars of poles and piling each week. Doucette managed to retain a small amount of lumber and shipping business, which with the addition of newer sources of small business income kept it a small but viable community. In 1990 and 2000 it had a population of 131."


Many Southeast Texas towns were established because of timber and associated railroads, prospered for a time and then became low-populated places where people live.



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