THE CITY OF GRANDVIEW, TEXAS

Grandview is at the junction of U.S. Highway 81 and Interstate 35W, twelve miles southeast of Cleburne in southeastern Johnson County. More location information...


Grandview

Written by Brenda J. Edwards

Grandview is located in the southeast portion of Johnson County, and it is surrounded by fertile, rich, black land, which has played a vital part in the development of the County. The town was founded in 1854 just one mile north of its present site. F. L. Kirtley, a Baptist preacher and blacksmith first settled here, in the summer of 1850. Kirtley built a log cabin and traded with the Indians and the immigrants that were coming into the area. The settlement at this time did not have a name. In 1854, John Whitmire, brother-in-law to Kirtley, came into Texas from Ohio to buy land. One day as he visited the store of Kirtley, Whitmire looked about him and exclaimed, "What a grand view!" The name struck Kirtley as a fine name for his store and thriving community.

Kirtley and his family left the area and settled in Alvarado, with the Brights. Before leaving, Kirtley sold his rights to the settlement to James Scurlock, in early 1859. S.H. Richards had come into the area and settled to the north of Chambers Creek. Scurlock began planning the town and laying out the streets and selling lots for $25. Scurlock was a Lieutenant in the Confederate Army and was commissioned to take a load of beef to the soldiers. Before leaving he sold his rights to the settlement to F.M. Sansom. Scurlock never returned for he and his son caught the deadly measles that took their lives and they are buried on the Mississippi. F.L. Kirtley had donated land for the Grand View Cemetery and held the first Baptist Church services. James Scurlock brought the first Methodist Church into the community. John Whitmire a preacher of the gospel helped establish the first congregation of the Churches of Christ in the community. There were two churches that served the Negro community. A post office was established in this community in April 29, 1856, and was given the name of Grand View. On September 25, 1925, the name was changed to one word Grandview. At the present time three rural routes emanate from this post office.

The Grandview Cemetery is one of the best-kept and most beautiful cemeteries in this section of Texas. Located in this cemetery is the "Annie Mystery Grave". It is that of a young woman who was murdered on May 31, 1867. The woman and a man arrived in the community of the "Old Town" and they bought supplies from the Scurlock store and then left to camp on a creek east of the town. The woman was found the next day, shot. The man was gone with the horses and supplies, never to be seen again. The woman had a handkerchief with the name Annie sewn into the edge. The town buried Annie and then in a few days later two large cone-shaped stones appeared at the gravesite, one at each end. The name Annie was carved into one. The stones are still there today one almost embedded into a huge oak tree that has grown up there. A marker for the grave was donated in 1967. East of this grave is the burial place of a man, Lev Cooper, who was born in a house, located in the exact spot that he, is buried.

Grandview's Education Association was formed in December of 1879. F. M. Sansom had donated two acres of land for a school in March of 1854. The first known school was in a log cabin and was taught by a Mr. Quinlin, who lived in a nearby tent. Grandview once had a college, named the Grandview Collegiate Institute, with an enrollment of 300 students. It was the largest frame building in the state used for school purposes at the time of 1899. It was re-chartered as the Grandview High School and Grammar School in 1908 and was located on Fourth Street, where the Methodist Church building now stands. Grandview Schools have now grown to an enrollment of 1100 students, with an Elementary, Middle School, Junior High, and High School. The school has always been noted for good sportsmanship and high scholastic achievements. A new high school building was built about three years ago and a new vocational building has been built.

The main line of the M.K&T. Railroad, constructed in 1882, was the cause of the relocation of Grandview. All business houses, including several brick buildings and homes were moved, from the location referred to by present Grandview residents as "Old Town". Only the cemetery has remained in the original location. The First National Bank of Grandview was established in 1890, one of the oldest banks in the County. It is now known as the First State Bank. The bank building is the only one left of the town that was built before the fire of 1920. Grandview's Masonic Lodge is the oldest in Johnson County, the charter being granted June 14, 1861.

Grandview, in spite of a disastrous fire, March 14, 1920, has developed into one of the leading towns in Johnson County. The fire destroyed 72 dwellings and half of the business houses. The fire started and ended with property owned by W.D. Davis. His two-story home in the south part of town was the first building to burn and his grocery store in the downtown area five blocks north of the fire's origin in a chicken brooder, was the last building to burn. The Bank building, the English Restaurant, the O'Hara-Harrell-Hutchins business, the Commercial Hotel and several homes were saved. The bank building and several of the homes still stand today. No lives were lost. After the fire of 1920, brick streets were laid and are still here today. In fact Grandview has suffered from several fires over the years. The first fire was in 1882, with five buildings burned. In 1884, the new depot building was set on fire. In 1897, a fire destroyed some homes in the residential section and the building of the then Grandview newspaper, The Graphic was burned. Grandview has had a weekly newspaper published since its beginning in 1896 and is now called the Grandview Tribune. In 1921 the Commercial Hotel burned and two lives were lost. And in 1967 a destructive fire took the three-story brick hotel building located on corner of Criner Street and Highway 81. Other businesses that were also located along the street were temporarily out of business. The corner was rebuilt with a long one-story building that was named the Grandview Community Center and was dedicated April 25, 1970. The last fire was on the south side of Criner Street, next to the bank building, David's Corporate Offices burned and was totally destroyed in 1997. A new office was replaced the next year.

Grandview's main principal source of income for years was from agriculture. More cotton was produced in the Grandview area than any other Johnson County section. The area was also once noted for fine corn and blooded hogs. Farming is still practiced in the surrounding area, but cotton and corn are no longer the main crops. Many fine cattle ranches and horse ranches and dairies now call the Grandview area home. U.S. Highway 81, which runs from Winnipeg, Canada to Laredo, Texas crosses the town from north to south. This leads into Interstate 35, an easy commute into the metroplex cities of Fort Worth and Dallas and other large cities north and south. Farm to Market Roads connect Grandview to Cleburne to the west and Waxahachie, Ennis and points east. The town now boasts of having 80 businesses that call Grandview home. Some of these businesses are not located in the downtown area, but are spread out over the community. The town of Grandview was once traveled to from all areas of the County to attend the Corn and Livestock Show, which had its beginnings in 1939. It was suspended for a time during the years of WW II, then resumed. In later years the show was finally stopped. Grandview has a mayor-council form of government. Also an excellent police force is established with 1 chief of police and 4 full time officers. The area around Grandview has many communities, which have contributed to its growth. An Industrial Foundation was formed in the late 1950's for the purpose of supporting any project that could be developed or brought into Grandview for community advancement. The Grandview Chamber of Commerce was formed many years ago with the newest organization being formed in August of 1996, with over 100 members. The town of Grandview has one of the highest rated Nursing Homes in the State of Texas. The Grandview Nursing Home, being built and finished in February of 1979 is community owned, so all of its revenue goes back into the home, for upkeep and betterment. Dr. Mike Grier, a dentist, has an office located here. Davids Grocery Store owned by David Waldrip with its office and warehouse, established in the 1970 is still operating here, and provides many jobs for the residents. Universal Forest Products, which is known the states over have a large, company here. The Grandview Public Library, began in 1998, operates here and is successful. Many people from all around have come to check out books or use the Internet services that are provided. A Retirement Village opened here in 2000. Grandview has had its ups and downs, but with a population of 1,358 residents, it is on the upswing with businesses being solid and there is room to grow on all sides. The town is looking forward to a glorious future with a heritage of untold resources left by our forefathers. Yes, everything is Grand in Grandview, and we still have our Grand View!