Bardwell is on Farm Road 984 and State Highway 34 just west of Bardwell Lake and ten miles southeast of Waxahachie in southeastern Ellis County. The community developed in the early 1880s when John W. Bardwell built a cotton gin a mile southwest of the present townsite. Bethany school and cemetery, a mile south of present Bardwell, also served the new community as a place of worship until Bardwell's first school was built in 1892 and a Baptist church was organized the following year. Residents also established a Methodist church and opened a post office branch in 1893. When the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway was routed through the county in 1907, the gin was moved to the nearest stretch of track. The community followed, and a townsite was surveyed. Due to its location in an outstanding cotton producing area, Bardwell prospered through the 1920s. Besides its three cotton gins, the town had two banks, six grocery stores, four dry goods stores, a gristmill, a lumberyard, and a weekly newspaper, the Herald. By 1914 Bardwell had its own telephone system and electric power supplied by new lines from Ennis. Residents built an open-air tabernacle to shelter political meetings, revivals, traveling Chautauquas, and popular summer singing programs. In 1929 the population reached a high of 650, served by more than twenty-five businesses. The Great Depression and drought drained Bardwell's economy in the 1930s, and when the main road was rerouted to the new State Highway 34 in the early 1940s, most of the businesses either closed or moved to the highway. In 1958 the Bardwell school was consolidated with the Ennis schools. In 1972 Bardwell had 277 residents, two gins, three churches, and a handful of small businesses. The population in 1988 was 348; in 1990 it was 387, and in 2000 it grew to 583.

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David Minor | © TSHA

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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.

Belongs to

Bardwell is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Bardwell is classified as a Town


Latitude: 32.26700660
Longitude: -96.69551900

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »