Central Texas Town Up For Sale Beginning Friday

By: Paul J. Gately Email
By: Paul J. Gately Email

THE GROVE (April 23, 2010)-Downtown The Grove and everything in it goes on the auction block Friday morning and by Sunday night every piece will have been sold to the highest bidder.

The downtown business district - founded in 1859 - sold to Moody Anderson in 1972 and he spent nearly 40 years gathering memorabilia to fill his Country Life Museum from floor to ceiling.

Now, all of that memorabilia will be sold by Burley Auctions and auctioneer Rob Burley.

According to the Burley Auction Group website, thousands of items and then the buildings, themselves, will be sold this weekend.

Burley said the town opens up for an auction preview at 8 a.m. Friday and the first lot of 600 is set for sale beginning at 10 a.m.

The items include a fully-stocked country store, a bank teller cage and vault, a post office - which was decommissioned in 1996 but up until then operated daily - a dentist's office, a saloon and a blacksmith's shop.

The Grove is on Farm Road 1114 just off State Highway 36, sixteen miles southeast of Gatesville in eastern Coryell County.

It was established about 1859 and named for the grove of live oak trees in which it is situated.

At one time the settlement was called Morrison Grove. By the late 1860s the community had two general stores, a mill, and a gin.

The post office opened in 1874 with J. B. Coleman as postmaster. In the mid-1880s the community had three general stores, two groceries, and a population of 150; area farmers shipped cotton, hides, and grain.

By 1900 The Grove was one of the most prosperous towns in the county. It had a two-teacher school with sixty students in 1904, and a Lutheran school opened there in 1908.

The community began to decline in the 1940s, when it was bypassed by State Highway 36.

Some area farmers were forced to relocate when Fort Hood was established in the early 1940s, and others lost land when the Belton dam was built in 1953. Improvements in transportation and consolidation of agriculture also contributed to the community's decline.

The public school at The Grove closed in 1948, and students were bussed to schools in other communities.

The Lutheran school continued to operate until 1962 but was then closed for lack of students.

The population of The Grove, reported as 150 in the 1940s, fell to 140 in the 1950s and 1960s, and by 1970 to sixty-five, where it remained through 2000.

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