Kress, on U.S. Highway 87 in southern Swisher County, was originally named Wright, after a local rancher and preacher, when it was founded in 1890. It had a post office, a general store, and a school and was on the stage line from Canyon to Plainview. When the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway came through the county in 1906, the store and post office were moved two miles southwest to the present site and were named for another pioneer settler, George H. Kress. C. F. Sjogren, a local immigrant farmer and land broker, encouraged settlement of the area. In 1909 the local Commercial Club, headed by Sjogren's land company, published a booklet that advertised the town's advantages as a trade center and listed its population as close to 500. Although that figure may have been exaggerated, by that time Kress did have mercantile stores, drugstores, lumberyards, wagonyards, hotels, two banks, a telephone exchange, a telegraph office, and a railroad depot. The first school at Kress had opened in 1907. In 1915 the first garage and filling station was erected, a grain elevator was built, and a weekend rodeo was organized for local recreation. During the history of Kress, the location of the main highway through town has shifted at least twice, compelling the business district to shift likewise. By the late 1920s the town had electricity and natural gas utilities, and in 1941 a butane plant was established; it has since closed. In 1953 the town elected to incorporate with the mayor-council form of city government. By then it had a population of more than 650. In 1955 a volunteer fire department was organized, and a new municipal water system was completed. The old banks closed during the Great Depression, and Kress was without a bank until the opening of the Kress National Bank in 1963. In the 1980s Kress remained an active agribusiness center with an affiliated school, a city park, five churches, and thirty businesses. The Missouri Beef Packers plant, which in the 1980s reportedly had the world's largest beef kill capacity under one roof, is on the highway south of Kress. The town reported a population of 783 in 1984. In 1991 Kress reported 759 residents and forty-two rated businesses. In 2000 the population was 826 with forty-four businesses.
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Kress by the Numbers
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|687||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|715||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|826||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|739||1990||Texas Demographic Center|