Riesel is at the intersection of Farm Road 1860 and State Highway 6, on the Missouri Pacific Railroad fourteen miles southeast of Waco in southeastern McLennan County. The Houston and Texas Central Railway built a sectionhouse called Roddy on the site about 1880. A number of German families settled in the community, and in 1890 W. H. Riesel built a gin there. A post office called Prospect was opened in the community in 1890, and the following year the name of the post office and community was changed to Riesel, after the gin owner. According to some sources, Baron Bertman von Hollweg, an early settler in the community, built two large buildings to be used as orphanages, but both were destroyed by fire. In 1895 Riesel Independent School District was established, and by 1896 the community had grown to include a hotel, two general stores, one dry goods store, two groceries, and two lumberyards. The town paper, the Riesel Breeze, was founded in 1896 and later was renamed the Riesel Rustler. The town's population in 1900 was 268. A bank was opened in the community in 1906 and a second in 1910. By 1914 Riesel had Lutheran, Methodist, Christian, and Baptist churches. In 1930 it had 420 residents and twenty businesses. The Texas Department of Agriculture established an experimental station just east of the community in 1938. That year Riesel had 433 inhabitants, a school, two churches, and twenty-two businesses. The population has slowly grown from 403 in 1950, to 691 in 1980, and to 839 in 1990. In 2000 the population was 973.
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Riesel by the Numbers
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|1,051||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,007||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|973||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|839||1990||Texas Demographic Center|