Downtown Van, Texas
|• Total||3.0 sq mi (7.7 km2)|
|• Land||3.0 sq mi (7.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||489 ft (149 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||880/sq mi (340/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Area code(s)||430, 903|
|GNIS feature ID||1376568|
Van is a city located in southeastern Van Zandt County, Texas, United States, approximately 75 miles east of Dallas and 26 miles northwest of Tyler. The population was 2,632 at the 2010 census. The town draws its name from an early settler and school teacher Henry Vance.
Van's first settlers in the area had arrived by the time of the Civil War. By 1874, the town was named Swindall for George Swindall, who donated land for a school west of the present business district and land north of that site in 1891 to the Methodist Church. In 1894 schoolteacher Henry Vance, the town's namesake, established a post office, and the name Van was chosen when the post office renamed the community. A Pure Oil company survey near the town in 1927 led to the discovery of oil at the property on October 13, 1929. Consequently, Van experienced an overnight boom, growing from a rural farming community with a school, and post office to an oil boomtown where thirty buildings, including hotels and stores, had been constructed in only ten days. That November Sun Oil, Shell Petroleum, the Texas Company, Pure Oil, and Humble became co-owners of the field, with Pure Oil as chief operator, and in 1930 the Texas Short Line Railway was extended from Grand Saline. The population numbered 894 throughout the 1930s. The population declined to 620 during World War II, as workers moved away to jobs in war-related industry, but increased steadily thereafter. Businesses in the community fluctuated from a high of fifty in 1934 to a low of fifteen in 1945, but remained between thirty and forty throughout most of the town's history. Mechanization of the oilfield occurred in the 1940s, and by the 1950s Van had a Humble Oil refinery, five churches, and a consolidated independent school district. A total of 591 wells made up the Van field when Pure Oil became a division of Union Oil in 1965. The population of Van grew from 1,103 in 1962 to 1,820 by 1974. The population reached just over 2,600 residents in 2013.
May 2015 tornado
On May 10, 2015, shortly after sunset, Van was struck by a strong tornado during the May 5–10, 2015 tornado outbreak sequence. According to the National Weather Service and tornado chasers, a severe thunderstorm spawned a tornado that touched down in a heavily wooded thicket just south of Van Zandt County Road 4609, just west of the small community of Primrose, 10 miles south of Van. The tornado path moved in a direct line north, crossing Texas State Highway 64, picking up strength as it crossed the Neches River, and then Interstate 20 just south of the town. The tornado went straight into the heart of Van, causing heavy damage to structures in the town. It destroyed the elementary school in the city that was a historical monument and then moved straight north through residential neighborhoods, destroying homes and causing massive structural damage. The tornado continued in a straight line north towards Grand Saline. The tornado dissipated 3.5 miles north of Van. Numerous homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed, and many trees and power lines were downed throughout Van. A nearby metal-frame industrial building was destroyed. A few well-built frame homes in the northern part of town were left with only interior walls standing. An oil pump derrick toppled to the ground, along with a large metal high-tension truss tower. Several barns and outbuildings were destroyed as well. Two people were killed and 47 were injured, prompting local emergency management officials to declare a mass-casualty incident. The following day, the tornado was given a rating of EF3 from the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth.
Van is served by the following roadways:
- Interstate 20 - south of downtown Van
- State Highway 110 - designated as Maple Street in the City, it runs southeast toward Tyler and north to Grand Saline
- Farm to Market Road 16 - designated as Main Street in the city limits, the road runs west to near Canton and east toward Lindale
- Farm to Market Road 314 - marked as Oak Street, Van is the northern terminus of this road that runs south toward Brownsboro, just west of Tyler
- Farm to Market Road 1805 - runs from Van and connects to FM 1253 into nearby Smith County
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,362 people, 894 households, and 616 families residing in the city. The population density was 789.6 people per square mile (305.0/km2). There were 999 housing units at an average density of 334.0 per square mile (129.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.85% White, 0.34% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 2.12% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.11% of the population.
There were 894 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% Tch was here who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,177, and the median income for a family was $38,864. Males had a median income of $34,464 versus $21,087 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,495. About 11.1% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
First United Methodist Church (2012)
- "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.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- U.S. Decennial Census; census.gov