Duke, Texas

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Duke, Texas
ghost town
Duke, Texas is located in Texas
Duke, Texas
Duke, Texas
Location within the state of Texas
Coordinates: 29°30′17″N 95°29′10″W / 29.50472°N 95.48611°W / 29.50472; -95.48611Coordinates: 29°30′17″N 95°29′10″W / 29.50472°N 95.48611°W / 29.50472; -95.48611
Country United States
State Texas
County Fort Bend
Elevation 62 ft (19 m)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 77583
Area code(s) 281, 713, 832
GNIS feature ID 1378234[1]

Duke is a ghost town in Fort Bend County, in the U.S. state of Texas. The former settlement's location was west of Arcola along the BNSF Railway near Houston Southwest Airport. In 2014 the town site was no longer accessible by public roads.

History[edit]

The town of Duke grew up on the Sugar Land Railroad as a shipping point for sugar cane. Water from conveniently nearby Clear Lake was used to service the railroad locomotives. Postal service began in 1883 with John R. Fenn as postmaster. The bustling community consisted of a hotel, stock yard, store and sugar mills. The town was named after Duke Hessey, who operated the store.[2] On October 19, 1888 there was a political rally at Duke that nearly resulted in violence between the contending factions. During the tense political struggle which would later erupt in the Jaybird-Woodpecker War there was an attempt at civil debate. However, when Woodpecker candidate Kyle Terry took the stage at Duke, he had harsh words for his opponent Ned Gibson, a Jaybird. Though Gibson was not there, one of his brothers took vigorous offense. Terry brandished a pistol but was prevented from using it by an elderly African-American man, a former slave of the Terry family. Fortunately, the organizers of the event had taken the precaution of asking participants to leave their weapons at Fenn's store or in their buggies. So the flash point would wait another ten months.[3] Postal service ended at Duke in 1922.[2]

Geography[edit]

On the 1955 Almeda, Tex. United States Geological Survey 1:24,000 scale map, Duke was located on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad west of Arcola on the northern side of Clear Lake. On the map, the town was connected by road to what is now McKeever Road to the north.[4] Duke Road crosses Southwest Houston Airport property a few yards from the western end of the runway. Public use was blocked by a fence in January 2014.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Duke, Texas
  2. ^ a b See historical marker photo.
  3. ^ Wharton, Clarence R. (2001). History of Fort Bend County. Austin, Tex.: Fort Bend Museum Association and Eakin Press. p. 207. 
  4. ^ USGS Almeda, Tex. Quadrangle (1955)
  5. ^ See Duke Road photo.