Waskom is on the Louisiana state line and the Union Pacific Railway at the intersection of Farm roads 134 and 9, U.S. Highway 80, and Interstate Highway 20, eighteen miles southeast of Marshall in southeastern Harrison County. The community was founded about 1850 as Powell Town, probably for Jonathan S. Powell, who owned a land grant in the area. It had a post office as Powellton from 1850 to 1872. The name was changed to Waskom Station in 1872 and to Waskom in 1881 to honor J. M. Waskom, a director of the Southern Pacific Railroad who was instrumental in bringing the railroad through the community. By 1884 Waskom had an estimated population of 150 inhabitants, two Black Baptist churches, a school, a sawmill, and four steam gristmills and cotton gins. The population had grown to an estimated 207 people in 1904. A branch of a second railroad, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, was built through the community about 1900. Oil was discovered near Waskom in 1924, and Waskom's population increased to some 1,000 inhabitants by the mid-1920s. In 1930 the Waskom Independent School District served 277 White pupils and 807 Black pupils in segregated facilities. In 1933 the town had 1,117 inhabitants and thirty-nine businesses, including a large timber mill and brick plant. When Waskom incorporated in 1941, it had a population of 564. In 1946 new gas and distillate producers were discovered in the area, and the Waskom economy was also bolstered by the local Frost Lumber Industries. Located on the extreme eastern boundary of Texas, Waskom has also been the site of numerous filling stations catering to Louisiana residents, whose gas tax was higher. The population increased from 719 in 1952 to 2,182 in 1988. An information office of the Texas Tourist Bureau in Waskom operated daily throughout the year in 1988. In 1990 the population was 1,812. The population reached 2,068 in 2000.

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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Place type

Waskom is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-Station]
  • (Powellton)


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Waskom by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
1,910 2020 United States Census Bureau
2,268 2019 Texas Demographic Center
2,160 2010 United States Census Bureau
2,068 2000 United States Census Bureau
1,812 1990 United States Census Bureau