Cotton Center is in a cotton-growing area twelve miles southwest of Hale Center in western Hale County. The area was developed in the late 1800s, primarily by ranchers. In 1907 the Plainview line, built through Hale County by the Santa Fe Railroad company, introduced both cash crops and a new wave of settlers arriving primarily from Oklahoma and East Texas. The community came into existence in 1925 with the consolidation of the local Bartonsite, Anchor, and Norfleet schools. In that year J. C. Brown, who is credited with naming the community, laid out a townsite and opened a cotton gin. In 1935 a local post office opened, and the first irrigation well was established. After World War II irrigation wells proliferated, pumping water from the Ogallala aquifer. On June 2, 1965, a tornado struck Cotton Center, killing one person, injuring three, and destroying several houses. During the 1980s the community was centered around the Cotton Center school system, which at that time served a district of about 130 square miles. In 1984 the community reported seven businesses and a population of 260, though the school district's population was estimated as around 800. Cotton Center's population was reported as 205 in 1990 and again in 2000.
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Cotton Center by the Numbers
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