What is the history of Van, Texas?
In 1894 schoolteacher Henry Vance established a post office, and the name Van was chosen when the post office renamed the community for resident Vannie Tunnell and postmaster Vance.
The rural farming community consisted of a post office, a school and a general store. In October 1929, the Pure Oil company discovered oil on the property of W. T. Jarman.
The city erupted into a substantial community where thirty buildings, including hotels and stores, had been constructed in only ten days.
In November, Sun Oil, Shell Petroleum, the Texas Company, Pure Oil, and Humble became co-owners of the field, with Pure Oil as chief operator.
In 1930 the Texas Short Line Railway was extended from Grand Saline. The city grew. During the 1930’s the population numbered in the 800’s.
The population declined during World War II because workers moved away with war related jobs, but increased again at the end of the war. Business in the town jumped from the high of 50 in 1934 to a low of 15 in 1945.
The oil field mechanized in the 1940’s, and by the 1950’s, Van had a Humble Oil Refinery, numerous churches, and a consoldated independent school system.
When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, and visiting my grandparents in Van, the streets were literally paved with oil. A total of 591 wells made up the Van field when Pure Oil became a division of Union Oil in 1965.
The population of Van grew from 1,103 in 1962 to 1,820 by 1974, when the community received a government housing project. With its close proximity to the county center at Canton, however, Van continued to grow slowly, reaching a population high of only 1,854 by 1992.
Today we have a population of 2,446 . Our schools house students from many communities.