Commerce, Texas

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Commerce, Texas
View of the Texas A&M University–Commerce campus
Nickname(s): "The 'Merce"
Motto: "Fun, Education, Community"
Location of Commerce, Texas
Location of Commerce, Texas
Hunt County Commerce.svg
Coordinates: 33°14′42″N 95°54′0″W / 33.24500°N 95.90000°W / 33.24500; -95.90000Coordinates: 33°14′42″N 95°54′0″W / 33.24500°N 95.90000°W / 33.24500; -95.90000
Country United States
State Texas
County Hunt
 • Mayor John Ballotti
 • Total 6.5 sq mi (16.9 km2)
 • Land 6.5 sq mi (16.8 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 554 ft (169 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,078
 • Density 1,183.3/sq mi (456.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 75428-75429
Area code(s) 903
FIPS code 48-16240[1]
GNIS feature ID 1373171[2]

Commerce is a Texas city located in Hunt County, Texas, United States, situated on the eastern edge of North Texas, in the heart of the Texas Blackland Prairies, and the northeastern part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The town is 60 miles (97 km) from Dallas, Texas, and 45 miles south of the Texas/Oklahoma border. Commerce is the second largest city in Hunt County with a population of 8,599 residents as of 2014. The rural city is home to Texas A&M University–Commerce, a major 4-year University of over 12,000 students that has been in the town since 1894. Commerce is one of the smallest college towns in Texas.


The town of Commerce was formed when two merchants named William Jernigan and Josiah Jackson established a trading post and mercantile store located where the present day downtown area is. The rural area just to the northeast of the area was an open prairie area originally known as Cow Hill. The town was established in 1872 and named Commerce due to the thriving economic activity, and cotton fields and ideal farm and ranch lands between the Middle and South Sulphur rivers on the rich, black gumbo prairie in northeast Hunt County. The town incorporated in 1885. Two years later, a railroad was built through Commerce to transport merchandise from Fort Worth, and nine years later, William L. Mayo, a college educator, moved East Texas Normal College from the Northeast Texas town of Cooper to Commerce after the original school in Cooper was destroyed in a fire. Mayo continued as president of the college, now known as Texas A&M University–Commerce, until his death in 1917 and is buried on the campus grounds.

Bois d'Arc Bash 2015

Commerce was named the “Bois d’Arc Capital of Texas” (pronounced "bow-dark") by the Texas Legislature because of its location in the geographic center of the indigenous range of the bois d’arc tree. The second largest bois d’arc tree in Texas “Big Max”, recognized by the National Forests Famous and Historic Trees, is located within the city limits. Held every September, the annual festival Bois d’Arc Bash pays homage to bois d’arc trees which played a vital part in the frontier days, providing foundations, fences and weapons of the Native Americans. The Bash celebrates with arts & crafts vendors, food, parade, kid's game area, pageant, wine tasting, musical entertainment, 5K run, and car & truck show.


Commerce is located at 33°14′42″N 95°54′0″W / 33.24500°N 95.90000°W / 33.24500; -95.90000 (33.244959, -95.899957).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.5 square miles (17 km2), of which, 6.5 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.92%) is water.


Commerce's climate is considered to be part of the humid subtropical region. The temperature varies greatly throughout the year. Commerce has hot, humid and dry Summers, typical of much of Texas and above average Spring temperatures. Commerce has cooler fall and Winter temperatures with higher wind chills due to its northern location and location on a natural prairie. During the Spring is the strongest part of the storm season as thunderstorms are very common and Tornadoes have been known to form in and around the area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 810
1900 1,800 122.2%
1910 2,818 56.6%
1920 3,842 36.3%
1930 4,267 11.1%
1940 4,699 10.1%
1950 5,889 25.3%
1960 5,789 −1.7%
1970 9,534 64.7%
1980 8,136 −14.7%
1990 6,825 −16.1%
2000 7,669 12.4%
2010 8,078 5.3%
Est. 2014 8,599 [4] 6.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were approximately 8,078 people, 2,881 households, and 1,524 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,183.3 people per square mile (456.9/km²). There were 3,405 housing units at an average density of 525.4 per square mile (202.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.07% White, 20.78% African American, 0.42% Native American, 2.59% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 3.13% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.65% of the population.

There were 2,881 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.1% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 3.02.

Age demographic: 21.5% under the age of 18, 28.2% age 18 to 24, 26.3% age 25 to 44, 14.3% age 45 to 64, and 9.8% age 65 or older. The median age was 25.6 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,946, and the median income for a family was $34,901. Males had a median income of $17,666 versus $14,515 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,320. About 29.3% of families and 35.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.2% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.


Commerce is served by the following Highways-

Commerce is also just minutes north of Interstate 30.

Commerce is the proposed terminus in the third and final stage for the proposed Blacklands Turnpike, a toll road that would run from far northeastern Dallas County, through Collin and Rockwall counties, as a faster way to get from Dallas to the major cities in Hunt County.


High School Sports[edit]

The Commerce Tigers football team in action against the North Lamar Panthers in 2015

Commerce High School is the only high school in Commerce, they are known as the Commerce Tigers and compete at the 3A level in UIL sports. The Commerce Tigers compete in football (men), volleyball (women), basketball (men and women), softball (women), baseball (men), track and field (men and women), cross country (men and women), powerlifting (men and women), tennis (men and women), and golf (men and women). The Commerce Tigers football team has two state titles from 1999 and 2001. Commerce-Norris High School (defuct) won the state championship for basketball in 1964.

Collegiate Sports[edit]

The A&M-Commerce Lions volleyball team in 2013

The A&M-Commerce Lions compete in NCAA Division II sports and are a flagship member of the Lone Star Conference. The A&M-Commerce Lions compete in: football (men), volleyball (women), basketball (men and women), soccer (women), softball (women), golf (men and women), track and field (men and women), and cross country (men and women). Football is very popular among the university as well as the town, as fans from surrounding cities including Greenville and Sulphur Springs will come out to support the A&M-Commerce Lions football team, and the average attendance at football games is over 6,000. The A&M-Commerce Lions have earned numerous conference titles in nearly every sport that they compete in. In addition to this they've also earned five national titles, men's basketball (1954-1955), men's golf (1965), football (1972), men's tennis (1972, 1978).


KETR's 40th anniversary celebration in April 2015

KETR[6] serves as the radio station for the city of Commerce, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Hunt County, and surrounding cities. The station was founded in 1975 at the A&M-Commerce campus where it still remains today. KETR is a 100,000 watt radio station that can reach up to 75 miles away, the radio frequency is 88.9 FM in honor of the year 1889 which is the year the university was founded. The station provides news, music, and sports for its listeners. In fact the station has two NPR talk shows. Commerce High School football games are broadcast on KETR, as well as A&M-Commerce Lions football and basketball games.


Aerial shot of TAMUC

Primary and Secondary Education[edit]

The City of Commerce is served by the Commerce Independent School District. CISD currently operates the following schools:

  • Commerce Elementary (Pre-K-2)
  • AC Williams Elementary (3-5)
  • Commerce Middle School (6-8)
  • Commerce High School (9-12)

Postsecondary Education[edit]

The city of Commerce is home to Texas A&M University–Commerce[7] (formerly known as East Texas State University), a fully accredited and ranked university that offers over 100 different majors, with an enrollment of 12,302 students, 7,808 undergraduates, and 4,494 graduate students. A&M-Commerce was founded in 1889 at its original location in Cooper, Texas, but moved to Commerce after burning down in 1894. The university is ranked #1 in the state of Texas for teaching education and 13th in the nation. The university also remains as the fifth longest continuous operating university in the state of Texas.


Due to being a rural college town with proximity to Dallas, Commerce has an economy that remained steady for years, but recently has seen some increase with a few new businesses opening and others being renovated. Most of the bigger businesses of the town surround the local university, and the university's student body is bigger than the town itself. Therefore, it is no surprise that the university also happens to be the top employer of the city as shown in the chart below. The downtown area is approximately one mile from the University and is the hub for town festivities. The downtown area includes bars, dining, a fashion retailer, a pet store, an office supplies retailer, a thrift shop, real estate offices, tax preparation offices, an insurance agency, the Chamber of Commerce, banks, and loft style living.


Walmart location in Commerce
# Employer # of Employees
1 Texas A&M University-Commerce 900
2 Walmart 251
3 Commerce ISD 250
4 Legacy Housing 178
5 City of Commerce 85
6 Ben E. Keith Company 84



Northeast Texas Children's Museum[edit]

The Northeast Texas Children's Museum in Commerce

The city of Commerce is home to the Northeast Texas Children's Museum. The museum provides playful and creative learning experiences for children. There are many hands-on exhibits and programs that cater to children between ages 2 through 10. Many school districts from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and the Northeast Texas area visit the museum. [9]

Jim Chapman Lake[edit]

A swimming area at Cooper Lake State Park

Jim Chapman Lake (formerly known as Cooper Lake) is located roughly 25 minutes away from Commerce, between Cooper and Sulphur Springs. Boating, swimming, and fishing are available at Jim Chapman Lake. Cooper Lake State Park is located along the northern shore of the lake. The park contains several picnic areas, campgrounds and a large swimming area on Jim Chapman Lake. The park also contains several hiking and equestrian trails. [10]

Notable Landmark of the City[edit]

Samuel H. Whitley Hall of A&M-Commerce

The most notable landmark of the city of Commerce is the high-rise 12 story building located on the A&M-Commerce campus. This building is called Samuel H. Whitley Hall and is the tallest building between Dallas and Texarkana. The building is named in honor of former university president Samuel Whitley, who served as president of the university from 1924-1946. This 146 foot tall building serves as a dormitory for traditional freshmen on campus.

Notable Natives and Residents[edit]

  • George C. Butte-Republican candidate for governor of Texas.
  • Claire Chennault-World War II General and noted war hero.
  • Wade Wilson-Former All-Pro NFL Quarterback and current Quarterbacks Coach for the Dallas Cowboys
  • Ben Kweller-American Rock Musician who penned a song called "Commerce, TX" that was loosely based on Kweller's time living in a duplex near college students in Commerce.


External links[edit]