Terrell, Texas

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Terrell, Texas
Downtown Terrell, Texas (2021)
Downtown Terrell, Texas (2021)
"Building a Better Community"
Location of Terrell in Kaufman County, Texas
Location of Terrell in Kaufman County, Texas
Coordinates: 32°44′15″N 96°16′57″W / 32.73750°N 96.28250°W / 32.73750; -96.28250Coordinates: 32°44′15″N 96°16′57″W / 32.73750°N 96.28250°W / 32.73750; -96.28250
CountryUnited StatesUnited States
Incorporated (city)1874
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City CouncilMayor Rick Carmona
Grady Simpson
Mayrani Velazquez
Charles Whitaker
Tim Royse
 • City ManagerMike Sims
 • Total27.33 sq mi (70.78 km2)
 • Land26.95 sq mi (69.80 km2)
 • Water0.38 sq mi (0.98 km2)
509 ft (155 m)
 • Total15,816
 • Estimate 
 • Density700.12/sq mi (270.32/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)214, 469, 972
FIPS code48-72284
GNIS feature ID1348380[4]

Terrell is a city in Kaufman County, Texas, United States. As of the 2020 Census, the city population was 17,465.[5] Terrell is located about 32 miles (51 km) east of Dallas. Terrell falls within CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 5 and is represented by Lance Gooden, who is a native to Terrell.


Terrell developed as a railroad town, beginning in 1873 with construction here of the Texas and Pacific Railroad line.[6] The town was named for Robert A. Terrell, a pioneer European-American settler whose farm lay on its western edge. He built an octagonal house on his property, called a "Round House", to provide better defense against attacks by Native Americans. They had occupied this territory for thousands of years. His house was later fitted with the first glass windows in the county. The community was incorporated in 1875.[7] The first automobile appeared in 1899.[8]

In 1892, Terrell was a sundown town that largely prohibited African Americans from living there.[9]

The Terrell Military College was established in Terrell, operating until after World War II. Its campus was sited on part of the former Terrell farm and incorporated his historic Round House. In 1949 the Southern Bible Institute, based in Dallas and affiliated with the Churches of Christ, bought the military college property and transferred their operations here, renaming their institution Southwestern Christian College. It is a private, historically black college. The Round House has been preserved on campus, and is one of 20 such structures in the nation.

The headquarters of the 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment of the Texas Army National Guard was also located in Terrell.


Terrell is located in northern Kaufman County at 32°44′15″N 96°16′57″W / 32.73750°N 96.28250°W / 32.73750; -96.28250 (32.737525, –96.282444).[10] U.S. Route 80 passes through the city center, leading west to Dallas and east 15 miles (24 km) to Wills Point. Interstate 20 passes through the south side of the city, leading west 19 miles (31 km) to Interstate 635 in the southeast suburbs of Dallas (Balch Springs) and east 27 miles (43 km) to Canton. Texas State Highway 34 passes through the east side of Terrell, leading northeast 32 miles (51 km) to Greenville and south 12 miles (19 km) to Kaufman, the county seat.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Terrell has a total area of 20.0 square miles (51.8 km2), of which 19.7 square miles (50.9 km2) are land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km2), or 1.74%, are water.[5]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Terrell has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[11]


Terrell City Hall
Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)18,869[3]19.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
Iris Theatre in downtown Terrell
Terrell water tower

2020 census[edit]

Terrell racial composition[12]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 6,696 38.34%
Black or African American (NH) 4,500 25.77%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 64 0.37%
Asian (NH) 131 0.75%
Pacific Islander (NH) 3 0.02%
Some Other Race (NH) 40 0.23%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 604 3.46%
Hispanic or Latino 5,427 31.07%
Total 17,465

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 17,465 people, 6,023 households, and 4,111 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there were 13,606 people, 4,605 households, and 3,292 families residing in the city. The population density was 742.9 people per square mile (286.9/km2). There were 5,032 housing units at an average density of 274.8 per square mile (106.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.36% White, 32.24% African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 9.74% from other races, and 1.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.57% of the population.

There were 4,605 households, out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 18.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 28.5% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,036, and the median income for a family was $40,148. Males had a median income of $29,826 versus $21,753 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,405. About 15.7% of families and 19.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.1% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[edit]

British Flying Training School[edit]

During World War II, the No. 1 British Flying Training School (BFTS) was located in Terrell. It was the first of six civilian flight schools in the United States dedicated to instructing British Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots during that war.[15] This followed an international training concept similar to that previously implemented during World War I near Fort Worth at Camp Taliaferro.

Terrell Municipal Airport hosts the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, which has an extensive record of the school.[16] In 2000 the museum was instrumental in honoring four Royal Air Force airmen who died in a crash during World War II. The four, flying from Terrell, encountered difficulties over the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma. The AT6 Monument, whose dedication made international headlines with many from Terrell and the United Kingdom present, marks the spot of one of the crashes. City, state and even international dignitaries gathered in Terrell on Friday, September 16, 2011, to mark the opening of the new Major William F. Long Terminal Building.

World War II veterans reunion[edit]

The City of Terrell, in partnership with the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum, hosts an annual World War II veterans reunion and air event on the first Saturday of October. This event draws attendees from all over the world. It presents numerous attractions such as vintage aircraft and military vehicles, skydiving, flight simulators, lectures, films, and demonstrations, and activities for every member of the family. The reunion dinner and hangar dance is on Friday night, and the fly-in kicks off with a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning, followed by a ceremony and entertainment until the afternoon.[16]

Terrell Jubilee[edit]

Terrell Jubilee, held the third weekend in April at Ben Gill Park, is a family celebration with a BBQ cook-off, museum tours, arts and crafts exhibition, carnival, live music, a quilt show, an auto show, and other attractions.[17]


Public school[edit]

The city is zoned to schools in Terrell Independent School District.

  • Terrell High School (Grades 9–12)
  • Herman Furlough, Jr. Middle School (Grades 6–8)
  • Dr. Bruce Wood Intermediate School (Grades K–5) Serving the West Side of Terrell
  • J.W. Long Elementary School (Grades K–5) Serving the East Side of Terrell
  • Gilbert Willie Sr. Elementary School (Grades K–5)
  • W.H. Burnett Early Childhood Center (Serving three- and four-year olds)

In 2010, Terrell Independent School District voted to rezone the district into East and West for grades 3–6. The city is divided along Rockwall St. and then further down along a line with no specific boundary.


Trinity Valley Community College operates the Kaufman County Campus in Terrell.

Southwestern Christian College is a private, historically black college affiliated with the Churches of Christ. It offers a four-year degree for ministerial studies, and two-year associate degrees in liberal arts and technical specialties.


Health care[edit]

Terrell is the location of the Terrell State Hospital, a psychiatric inpatient hospital with 316 beds operated under the direction of the Texas Department of State Health Services.[18]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 13 September 2012.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ a b "Terrell city, Texas - Census Bureau Profile". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  6. ^ "Terrell Texas". Terrell Chamber Of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Terrell, TX". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  8. ^ Long, John Sherman (Summer 1975). "Texas in the Gilded Age". Southwest Review. 60 (3): 300. JSTOR 43471232.
  9. ^ "Color Line at Elmo". San Saba County News. San Saba County, Texas. July 22, 1892. Reprinted in "The Race Feeling in Texas". Weekly Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, North Carolina. August 1, 1892. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com. 'In Terrell also very few negroes are barely tolerated, and in many sections everything is done to discourage negro immigration.'
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ Climate Summary for Terrell, Texas
  12. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  13. ^ https://www.census.gov/[not specific enough to verify]
  14. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  15. ^ Killebrew, Tom: The Royal Air Force in Texas: Training British Pilots in Terrell during World War II
  16. ^ a b No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum website
  17. ^ City of Terrell Heritage Jubilee website
  18. ^ Terrell State Hospital website
  19. ^ "TerrellHallOfFameInduction". Archived from the original on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[13][14]

External links[edit]