View of the Texas A&M University–Commerce campus
"The 'Merce"
Location of Commerce, Texas
|Region||Texas Blackland Prairies|
|• Mayor||Wyman Williams|
|• Total||8.41 sq mi (21.77 km2)|
|• Land||8.33 sq mi (21.58 km2)|
|• Water||0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)|
|Elevation||554 ft (169 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,161.51/sq mi (448.48/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1373171|
Commerce is a city in Hunt County, Texas, United States, situated on the eastern edge of North Texas, in the heart of the Texas Blackland Prairies, and the far northeastern part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The town is 66 miles (106 km) northeast of Dallas and 45 miles (72 km) south of the Texas/Oklahoma border. Commerce is the second largest city in Hunt County, with a population of 8,078 at the 2010 census and an estimated 9,303 in 2018. The city is home to Texas A&M University–Commerce, a four-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 where the present-day downtown area is. The rural area just to the northeast was an open prairie originally known as Cow Hill. The town was established in 1872 and named "Commerce" due to the thriving economic activity among the 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.
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 Bois d'Arc Bash pays homage to the native 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, kids' game area, pageant, wine, musical entertainment, 5K run, and car & truck show.
Commerce is located in northeastern Hunt County at (33.244959, −95.899957).
It is 66 miles (106 km) northeast of Dallas, 53 miles (85 km) southeast of Sherman, 38 miles (61 km) southwest of Paris, and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Sulphur Springs. Greenville, the Hunt county seat, is 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Commerce via Highway 224 or 18 miles (29 km) via Highway 24 and I-30.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Commerce has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.7 km2), of which 7.9 square miles (20.5 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.94%, are water. The Middle Sulphur River, part of the Red River watershed, runs past the north side of Commerce and forms part of its northern border.
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Commerce's climate is 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.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census 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:
- Texas State Highway 11–An east-west route through Commerce that connects with Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro to the east, and Wolfe City, Whitewright and Sherman to the west. Runs concurrent with Loop 178 along the south side of the university on a street known locally as "Culver Street" and then runs concurrent with Highway 24 before heading west towards Wolfe City.
- Texas State Highway 24–Major north-south route that runs through the city of Commerce and the University. It connects with Campbell and Interstate 30 to the south and with Cooper and Paris to the north. Most of the major businesses of Commerce line Highway 24. It is the only highway in Commerce that has a frontage road. It is a four-lane divided highway.
- Texas State Highway 50–Serves the northwest part of Commerce, particularly the area by Commerce Municipal Airport. Connects with Ladonia to the north. Formerly, the highway ran concurrent with Highway 24 from Interstate 30; this portion of the highway was reassigned in 2009.
- Texas State Highway 224–Is the Commerce-to-Greenville route, as it is the only highway that directly connects the two largest cities in Hunt county. It also goes through Neylandville before reaching its terminus in Greenville.
- Texas State Highway Loop 178–a 3/4 loop that runs a semi-circle around Commerce. It runs concurrent with Highway 11 along Culver Street south of the university before the junction with Highway 24, and after the junction it continues west towards Highway 224.
- Texas Farm to Market Road 71–Serves the northeast rural area of Commerce and continues into Hopkins County, going through some of the smaller rural communities.
- Texas Farm to Market Road 2874– Heads toward some unincorporated parts of Hunt County from a Junction with highway 224.
- Texas Farm to Market Road 3218–Serves the southeast area of Commerce, running through a small industrial and rural area. It also passes by a few Commerce ISD schools.
Business 224–A business route of highway 224 through Commerce along Live Oak Street, Main Street and Park Street.
Business 11–A business route of highway 11 through Commerce along Maple Street, Park Street, and Wolfe City Drive, this route was formerly a part of Highway 11 before it was rerouted to run concurrent with Loop 178 and Highway 24.
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.
Commerce is served by Commerce Municipal Airport.
Public transit called "The Connection" serves Commerce and all of Hunt County. The Connection operates Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm. Reservations have to be made one day in advance, and the transit charges $2 ($4 round trip) if the passenger is traveling to a place within the same community or city, and $3 ($6 round trip) if the passenger is traveling from one city or community to another within Hunt County. The Connection will also take Hunt County residents to Dallas, as a round trip only: passengers are charged $34, and a minimum of three passengers is required.
Primary and secondary education
The city 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)
Commerce is home to Texas A&M University–Commerce (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, in addition to having a highly ranked graduate school. The university also remains as the fifth longest continuous operating university in the state of Texas. Paris Junior College is an alternative for junior college students in the area, as PJC has campuses in Paris (40 miles away), Greenville (15 miles away), and Sulphur Springs (25 miles away).
High school sports
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 Tigers compete in football (boys), volleyball (girls), basketball (boys and girls), softball (boys), baseball (boys), track and field (boys and girls), cross country (boys and girls), powerlifting (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls), and golf (boys and girls). The football team has two state titles from 1999 and 2001. Commerce-Norris High School (defunct) won the state championship for basketball in 1964.
The A&M–Commerce Lions compete in NCAA Division II sports and are a 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 six national titles, men's basketball (1954–1955), men's golf (1965), football (1972, 2017), men's tennis (1972, 1978).
KETR 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. KGVL in nearby Greenville also has a strong presence due to the proximity of the two cities. Commerce is served by the Dallas/Fort Worth Television Stations on local cable and also regular programming. Commerce residents have three newspapers that serve the city, The Dallas Morning News, (Daily) The Greenville Herald-Banner, (Daily) and the Commerce Journal. (Weekly) Texas A&M University-Commerce also has its own student-led newspaper, The East Texan (weekly).
Due to being a rural college town with proximity to Dallas, Commerce has an economy that remained steady for years, with gradual increases with 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. 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, 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.
Commerce is home to Hunt Regional Medical Center, a Level IV Emergency Room and Trauma Center. The hospital was once part of the Dallas-based Presbyterian Health System, but changed hands around 2010. The main medical center is in nearby Greenville, and Commerce also has three primary care physicians' offices, one chiropractor, a prenatal clinic, two dental offices, and a physical therapy center.
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Texas A&M University-Commerce||900|
|5||City of Commerce||85|
|6||Ben E. Keith Company||84|
Northeast Texas Children's Museum
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.
Jim Chapman Lake
Jim Chapman Lake (formerly known as Cooper Lake) is located roughly 25 minutes east of 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.
The most notable landmark of the city of Commerce is Samuel H. Whitley Hall, a 12-story building on the A&M-Commerce campus. It is the tallest building between Dallas and Texarkana. The building is named in honor of former university president Samuel Whitley, who served from 1924 to 1946. The 146-foot-tall (45 m) building serves as a dormitory for traditional freshmen on campus.
- George C. Butte, Republican candidate for governor of Texas
- Claire Chennault, World War II general and noted war hero
- Ben Kweller, rock musician who penned a song called "Commerce, TX" that was loosely based on Kweller's time living in a duplex near college students
- Larry Lemanski, director of the Biomedical Institute for Regenerative Research at Texas A&M-Commerce
- Adam Kelly Ward, convicted murderer of code enforcement officer Michael Walker in 2005; executed in March 2016
- Wade Wilson, former All-Pro NFL quarterback and current quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys
- Williams elected as mayor
- "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Commerce city, Texas". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 30, 2019.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Google Maps driving directions
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- TxDOT September 2009 meeting
- "SCRPT – Transportation". www.connectioninfo.org. Retrieved 2016-05-28.
- "Texas A&M University-Commerce". Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "88.9 KETR – Your Station". Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- 2011 Commerce CAFR[permanent dead link]
- "Northeast Texas Children's Museum". Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- Staff (March 6, 2007). "History of Jim Chapman Lake/Cooper Dam". Jim Chapman Lake/Cooper Dam. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- "Mary Clark, Traveler: What Is There To do in Commerce and Cooper, Texas?". Retrieved 24 March 2016.
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