Marlin, Texas

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Marlin, Texas
Marlin Mineral Water Pavilion, 2011
Marlin Mineral Water Pavilion, 2011
Nickname(s): The Mineral Water City of Texas
Location of Marlin, Texas
Location of Marlin, Texas
Coordinates: 31°18′29″N 96°53′35″W / 31.30806°N 96.89306°W / 31.30806; -96.89306Coordinates: 31°18′29″N 96°53′35″W / 31.30806°N 96.89306°W / 31.30806; -96.89306
Country United States
State Texas
County Falls
Settled 1834
Incorporated 1867
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Total 4.6 sq mi (11.8 km2)
 • Land 4.5 sq mi (11.7 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 390 ft (119 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 6,628
 • Density 1,465.4/sq mi (565.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 76661
Area code(s) 254
FIPS code 48-46740[1]
GNIS feature ID 1362189[2]
Downtown Marlin (2012)
Glimpse of Falls County Courthouse, shaded by large trees
Falls Community Hospital in Marlin
Citizens State Bank in downtown Marlin
First United Methodist Church at 411 Coleman Street in Marlin
First Baptist Church (1928 sanctuary) at 309 Coleman Street in Marlin

Marlin is a city in Falls County, Texas, United States. The population was 6,628 at the 2000 census but decreased by 10 percent to 5,967 in 2010.[3] Since 1851, it has been the third county seat of Falls County. Marlin has been given the nickname "the Hot Mineral Water City of Texas". Mineral waters were found there in 1892.



The city of Marlin is located about four miles (6 km) east of the Brazos River, which runs straight through the center of the county. That was the site of Sarahville de Viesca, established in 1834 by Sterling C. Robertson. Marlin was incorporated in 1867. It is named after a pioneer patriot, John Marlin. His son-in-law, Samuel A. Blain, laid out streets and lots and drafted a map around a square. Three churches - Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist — were given lots first and relocated to the east side of the square. Zenas Bartlett's General Store was the first business to be established in Marlin. When Bartlett's wife died, the store was deeded to the city and used as a town hall. A simple brick building temporarily stood as a school. The first of four county courthouses was a log cabin. It was used for county business and court, a school, a church, a meeting place for political and community events, and as a dance hall. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1938 and 1939, after the third courthouse, which was built in 1887, was declared unsafe.

Before the county of Falls was organized, the settlement of Marlin already had established private schools. A tuition school, Marlin Male and Female Academy was located on Ward Street in 1871, north of the public square. The school was renamed and relocated before finally being sold in 1886, only to be destroyed by fire in 1900. A new public brick school was constructed in 1903. The Marlin Independent School District was established in 1923. Nearly half a century before in 1875, two other schools for African Americans were organized. The two black schools were dependent on state funds, and met in the African and Baptist churches. In 1916, the city council voted to build a school for blacks, which after it was first built, it was moved to Commerce Street, (where it is still located today) and named Booker T. Washington. In 1900, the town's Jewish residents organized a Sunday school.[4]

1890s Bring Good to Marlin; Falls and Arlington Hotels[edit]

Despite not going over the 15,000 population barrier, Marlin did get many tourists from around the country for its famous mineral water, which was believed to heal any sickness or pain, by bathing in it. Even though the waters had a smell to them, they still seemed to be 'magic' when people bathed in the stuff, and actually felt better. Bath houses were opened around the town of Marlin so people could come and takes bathes in the mineral water, after it was discovered in 1892 during the search for an artesian well. The mineral water had put the town on the map as hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to the area.

The Bank of Marlin was opened in 1892 and operated until the early 1960s.

The Cincinnati Reds baseball team held spring training in Marlin in 1907.[5] The New York Giants baseball team (now the San Francisco Giants) held spring training in Marlin from 1908 to 1918.[6]

In 1929, Conrad Hilton built his eighth Hilton Hotel in his chain in Marlin, a nine-floor, 110 room Falls Hotel, which could be seen for miles from the city limits of Marlin. Across the street was the Marlin Sanitarium Bathhouse. An underground tunnel connected the two buildings.

A fire destroyed the underground tunnel, the Sanitarium Bath House was torn down, and the Falls Hotel was closed. The hotel remains the tallest building in Falls County. The location of the bath house is now the city post office and a gazebo park. Another former hotel, the Arlington Hotel on Coleman Street, is now the location of a Mexican restaurant, Lupita's, and the Marlin Inn. The Arlington Hotel was first built as a three-floor hotel in 1895, and burned in 1899. An even more grand structure made of brick and stone followed, but it was soon closed as well.

The first floor of the Falls Hotel is the only part of the hotel that the public may visit. Original rooms of the hotel are now another Mexican restaurant, a beauty salon, and an eye doctor. City events are also held in the ballroom of the Falls Hotel.

Mineral water now can only be obtained from a fountain outside the Marlin Chamber of Commerce.

Modern Utilities in Marlin[edit]

Phones began appearing in households in Marlin in the year 1900. Automobiles, electricity, and Lone Star gas followed shortly. By the mid-1900s, Marlin had a bottling company, stock pens, a brickyard, a turkey-processing plant, (building can still be seen on Williams Street/South Business Highway 6) a saddlery, a water crystallization plant, and a pottery plant.

The 2000s[edit]

At the census in 2000, Marlin had a population of 6,628, an increase of 242 more people from 1990, when the census said Marlin had a population of 6,386. Things went downhill from there.

Wallace, a business-form printing company which was the job center of hundreds in Marlin, closed in the mid-2000s. A styrofoam company had been open in another building in Marlin's declining industrial park, had caught fire and the remains were demolished. The Thomas T. Connally Veteran's Affair Hospital, a fifth-floor building in the residential area of Marlin, located at the corner of Ward and Virginia Streets closed completely in 2005, losing even more hundreds of jobs to Marlinites, as the economy in Marlin continued to struggle.

By 2009, different census estimates had said that Marlin's population had decreased by 400 to 800 people. An article in the Waco Tribune-Herald reported that Marlin could grow, having noted the establishment of a $10-million water plant. The article mentions a three-floor, sixty-room Best Western Hotel under constructed on Highway 6 at Farm-to-Market Road 147. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice was establishing a hospital for prisoners at the former Veterans' Affairs Hospital which was expected to employ 100 to 150 persons. The Bible Way Church Family Worship Center would be opening up a new 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) facility that would double as a church and a community center with sports, a medical clinic, skating, and other activities.

But the major story in the article was that "Coach" Ken Carter would in the fall of 2009 be opening a boarding school for disadvantaged boys. The boarding school would be at the former home of the Marlin Middle School. Carter was the focus of the 2005 film, Coach Carter, based on a true story about a basketball coach whose winning team was faring poorly in the classroom. Carter lockdowned the gymnasium until the grades of fifteen of his players who were failing improved to at least a 2.3 grade point average. The lockdown lasted for eight days as the team had to forfeit two games. Eventually the team would finish 19–5.

Ken Carter had not known about Marlin before the movie. After finishing the film, Carter, while in Dallas, rented a car and took a drive down Interstate 35 to Waco and turned south onto Highway 6 and discovered Marlin: "I fell in love with this little town. I enjoyed the people, and I loved how green everything was."

Coach Carter spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from his movies into renovating the old, abandoned buildings. The boarding school will serve for grades from 8 to 12, and the first year will have up to 150 students, 64 to live on campus in dorms with a kitchen and laundry rooms. The total school day will be 12 hours with homework and sports, including basketball, football, and baseball. The students will also run their own store and barber shop on campus.

"We want the new generation to start thinking differently. People ask me, 'Why Marlin?' And I say, 'why not Marlin?' They act as if no great thing can come from Marlin."

A town meeting held at the former middle school buildings attracted guests such as Martin Luther King III.



The Heart of Texas Council of Governments granted the city of Marlin $35,000 to remove fifteen dilapidated buildings and structures in the town, which included three hundred tons of debris.[7]

Marlin constructed over six miles of water lines on twenty streets in 2011.[8] The city also started and completed a 500,000-gallon water tower project.

In 2011, the city brought back its Annual Music and Blues Festival, and even raised money to revamp the city baseball fields and revive the City Little League, which attracted 160 kids that year.[9][10]

The city's crime rate also decreased by 45 percent in 2011.[11]


Marlin is located at 31°18′29″N 96°53′35″W / 31.30806°N 96.89306°W / 31.30806; -96.89306 (31.307975, -96.892975)[12].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), of which, 4.5 square miles (12 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.09%) is water.


Highways and other major roads[edit]


Marlin and Falls County are served by the Marlin Municipal Airport, located about three miles (5 km) northeast of the Marlin city limits.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 500
1880 1,500 200.0%
1890 2,058 37.2%
1900 3,092 50.2%
1910 3,878 25.4%
1920 4,310 11.1%
1930 5,338 23.9%
1940 6,542 22.6%
1950 7,099 8.5%
1960 6,918 −2.5%
1970 6,351 −8.2%
1980 7,099 11.8%
1990 6,386 −10.0%
2000 6,628 3.8%
2010 5,967 −10.0%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,628 people, 2,415 households, and 1,509 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,465.4 people per square mile (566.2/km²). There were 2,826 housing units at an average density of 624.8 per square mile (241.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.00% White, 24.48% African American[inconsistent], 0.27% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 11.62% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.30% of the population.

There were 2,415 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% were married couples living together, 22.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city the population was spread out with 33.2% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,443, and the median income for a family was $26,861. Males had a median income of $25,220 versus $18,111 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,555. About 27.9% of families and 31.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.8% of those under age 18 and 16.8% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Marlin Unit, a transfer facility for men, in the City of Marlin. The unit opened in June 1992 and was transferred to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) in May 1995.[13] When it was a part of TYC, the facility, named the Marlin Orientation and Assessment Unit,[14] served as the place of orientation for children of both sexes being committed into TYC from the facility's opening in 1995 to its transfer out of TYC in 2007.[15] In September 2007 the facility was transferred back to the TDCJ.[13] The TDCJ also operates the William P. Hobby Unit, a prison for women located southwest of Marlin in unincorporated Falls County and named for former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby.[16]

The United States Postal Service operates the Marlin Post Office.[17]


The City of Marlin is served by the Marlin Independent School District, and is also home to the Coach Carter Impact Academy, opened and ran by Ken "Coach" Carter.


The city of Marlin has had several newspapers. The current one that has been serving Marlin since 1890 is the Marlin Democrat, issued every Wednesday. Other newspapers that were being published in the 19th and 20th centuries were The Falls County Freeman, ran by the black community. The Marlin Ball was first established in 1874 by T.C. Oltorf and continued until about the year of 1901. The Falls County Record was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. To this day, The Marlin Democrat and The Rosebud News remain the only active newspapers in Falls County.



Marlinites have enjoyed the revival of the Marlin Music and Blues Festival since 2011.[18] Originally the Wood Street Blues Festival from 2003 to 2005, the event was held in late May on consecutive days in honor of musician Blind Willie Johnson, a former resident of Marlin.[19]

In May 2013, after a hiatus, the famous Marlin Festival Days returned to the city park.[20]

Marlin's own Danario Alexander will hold a youth football camp in Marlin for the second year in a row in June 2013.[21]

Filmed in Marlin[edit]

Notable people[edit]



The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Marlin has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[28]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Marlin at the
  4. ^ "Marlin, Texas", found in the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities,
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ City Demolishes 15 Rundown structures
  8. ^ City adds over six miles of water lines and 500,000 gallon water tower
  9. ^ Marlin Blues Festival Returns After Five-Year Hiatus
  10. ^ Season opens for Marlin Little League
  11. ^ City's Crime Rate Significant Drop in 2011
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  13. ^ a b "Marlin Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  14. ^ "Facility Address List." Texas Youth Commission. November 10, 2001. Retrieved on June 24, 2010.
  15. ^ "How Offenders Move Through TYC." Texas Youth Commission. November 10, 2001. Retrieved on June 24, 2010.
  16. ^ "Hobby Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "Post Office Location - MARLIN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  18. ^ Blues Festival is a great success
  19. ^ The 'Blues' are back Festival
  20. ^ Marlin gears up for the return of Festival Days
  21. ^ Danario Alexander Football Camp
  22. ^ Films Shot in Marlin
  23. ^ Marlin, Texas film locations
  24. ^ Alexander, Charles C. (1995). John McGraw. Bison Books, reprint from Viking. p. 48. ISBN 0-8032-5925-5. 
  25. ^ "Daniel Kubiak". Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  26. ^ Coach Carter opens up boys academy
  27. ^ Tank Hopkins on Hawaii's athletic site
  28. ^ Climate Summary for Marlin, Texas

External links[edit]