Harrold is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 287, State Highway 240, Farm Road 1763, and the Burlington Northern line, seven miles southeast of Oklaunion in east central Wilbarger County. It was known as Cottonwood in the early 1880s, when it had a stage station and a store near China Creek. In 1884 the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway, building from the east, reached the area. The community was renamed to honor promoter Ephraim Harrold, who owned the nearby Bar-X Ranch. As the western terminus for the railroad, Harrold became an overnight boomtown and was officially platted on May 20, 1885; on July 10 of that year a post office was established there. Prospective settlers were offered train rides from Wichita Falls and were welcomed to the town by a brass band. Within a year some 1,500 people had arrived, and Harrold became known as a spirited frontier town. Churches were established. The town's numerous businesses included sixteen saloons. Harrold's boom days abruptly ended when the railroad reached Vernon, though Harrold remained a railroad shipping point and agricultural center with a population of several hundred. A school was established there about 1893, and Methodist, Baptist, and Church of Christ congregations were organized by 1900. The town experienced a second though less spectacular boom when oil was discovered nearby in 1924. The population of Harrold in 1929 was 349 and by the 1940s was 375. During the 1950s the post office, eleven businesses, and 375 residents were reported at the town. Later the population slightly decreased. The community's Methodist church was closed in 1951, its Baptist church in 1970, and its Church of Christ in 1974. In 1986 four businesses, the post office, and a population of 320 were reported at Harrold. Its population remained 320 through 2000.
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