Alvarado, Texas

Alvarado, Texas

View of downtown Alvarado, a city eastern Johnson County, Texas. Photograph by Renelibrary.
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Map of Johnson County

Alvarado, the oldest town in Johnson County, is at the junction of U.S. highways 67 and 81 and Interstate Highway 35W, fifteen miles east of Cleburne in eastern Johnson County. In the winter of 1849 William Balch staked out a claim near an old Indian trail. His family did not last until spring but returned in 1851. Two years later Balch and a fellow settler, G. H. Sigler, laid out half-acre town lots. The community's first sheriff, A. H. Onstoott, is credited with naming Alvarado for Alvaredo, Vera Cruz, Mexico, where he fought in a battle during the Mexican War. By the summer of 1854 Alvarado had an estimated 100 families and postal service. The focus of the town was a two-story building, where the Masonic lodge held its meetings and an elementary school conducted classes. There was also an Alvarado College, operated by John C. Collier. The town had four churches, more than a dozen businesses, and 350 residents.

Residents voted to incorporate in 1878. In 1881 the tracks of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroads arrived. Within a few years the population surpassed 1,000. By that time the community had a bank chartered in 1880, a newspaper named the Alvarado Bulletin, two schools, a number of gins, a hotel, and an opera house. By 1890 a second bank opened and the reported population exceeded 2,000.

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David Minor | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Great Texas Land Rush logo
Adoption Status:
This place has been adopted and will not be available until October 18, 2027
Adopted by:
City of Alvarado Texas
Dedication Message:
In honor and memory of all the awesome people that have built this wonderful community through the years. I am proud to stand on the shoulders of their hard work and pay it forward to future generations.

Belongs to

Alvarado is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Alvarado is classified as a Town


Latitude: 32.41141490
Longitude: -97.20985200

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Alvarado by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
4,739 2020 United States Census Bureau
4,574 2019 Texas Demographic Center
3,785 2010 United States Census Bureau
3,288 2000 United States Census Bureau
2,918 1990 United States Census Bureau
2,701 1980 United States Census Bureau
2,129 1970 United States Census Bureau
1,907 1960 United States Census Bureau
1,656 1950 United States Census Bureau
1,324 1940 United States Census Bureau
1,210 1930 United States Census Bureau
1,284 1920 United States Census Bureau
1,155 1910 United States Census Bureau
1,342 1900 United States Census Bureau
1,543 1890 United States Census Bureau