Garrison is on U.S. Highway 59 eighteen miles northeast of Nacogdoches in northeastern Nacogdoches County. Around 1884 Capt. J. H. (Jim) Garrison bought 387 acres of land on the Attoyac River. The Houston, East and West Texas Railway had been built to Nacogdoches and was seeking a right-of-way to the Sabine River. On August 29, 1884, Garrison and William Craig conveyed 125 acres to the railroad, eleven acres of which were reserved for a depot site and right-of-way. The remaining acreage was to be surveyed, laid off in blocks, streets, and alleys, and offered for sale. The area around the depot site was named Garrison. The first business to open in the new town was J. H. Garrison's office, which furnished wood and ties for the railroad from Lufkin to the Louisiana state line. A. I. Simpson's sawmill, the Greenwood Hotel, a general store, and gins soon appeared. Early Garrison also had saloons, which were frowned upon by the local churches; members were dismissed for selling liquor. The first train came to Garrison at berry time in 1886. The event was celebrated by a free ride to Nacogdoches on railroad flatcars. The first school in Garrison, a log church-schoolhouse near Greenwood, burned in 1886. Classes were taught in private homes until the Mineral Springs Institute was built east of the railroad tracks in 1895. In 1911 a brick school was built on the site where later the elementary school was located. In 1916 this building was destroyed by fire. The town was incorporated on May 18, 1890. Garrison claims to be the oldest incorporated community in Nacogdoches County since the corporation of Nacogdoches was interrupted around 1900. By 1896 the town was known as a health resort and had a population of 500. By 1915 it had grown to 1,000 residents. Maud Irwin became the first woman mayor in Texas when she was elected mayor of Garrison in 1937. The Garrison News was established in 1938. Natural resources of mineral springs, coal, fireproof clay, and timber were important to the economy of early Garrison. Coal mining began in the area in 1896 and stopped in 1902. Fuel shortages at the end of World War I caused a price increase, and the local mines were in use again until 1929, when competition with natural gas made them unprofitable. Clay was still important to Garrison in 1990. The early clay plant of M. L. Hinds was the beginning of what later became the Acme Brick plant, Garrison's largest employer during the 1980s. In 1990 Garrison had a population of 883. The tie and pulpwood businesses continued to be an important part of its economy. In 2000 the population was 844.
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Garrison by the Numbers
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|908||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|895||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|844||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|883||1990||Texas Demographic Center|