Grandfalls is at the intersection of State highways 11, 18, and 329, on the Pecos River in southeastern Ward County. It was named for its location on the upper, or grand, falls of the river. The area near the falls was an early campsite for travelers. The first settlers came in the late 1880s, attracted by the steady supply of water in the river and by the natural beauty of the countryside. Among them were the families of two brothers-in-law, R. I. Carr and J. T. Sweatt. These farmers built a brush dam above the lower, or great, falls near the site of the present State Highway 18 bridge and powered their cotton gin by the falls. On July 12, 1892, the Grandfalls school district was established, and a school building was constructed on the Carr farm. Mamie McFadden taught in the 1892–93 term. The building was also used for a union church consisting of seven denominations. In 1894 a flood demolished the raceway that powered the cotton gin, formed a new river channel, and destroyed the dam at the lower falls. Some farmers left after the flood, but the Carr and Sweatt families rebuilt the brush dam and constructed new canals to extend irrigation. A post office was opened in 1897 with James G. Baker as postmaster. In the late 1890s a land-development company laid out the town, and the Texas and Pacific Railway advertised land for settlement. Hardware, feed, and lumber stores were built. A dry-goods and grocery store, a hotel, and a blacksmith shop also opened. In the 1890s a number of Scandinavian families moved to the community and established St. Gertrudis Catholic Church. One of them, Dr. Charlotte Bergman, founded a medical practice. Although women physicians were rare in West Texas in 1897, she was well received and was successful in fighting tuberculosis in the area.

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

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Grandfalls by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
381 2019 Texas Demographic Center
360 2010 Texas Demographic Center
391 2000 Texas Demographic Center
583 1990 Texas Demographic Center