Van, Texas

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Van, Texas
Downtown Van, Texas
Downtown Van, Texas
Location within Van Zandt County and Texas
Location within Van Zandt County and Texas
Coordinates: 32°31′34″N 95°38′11″W / 32.52611°N 95.63639°W / 32.52611; -95.63639
CountryUnited States
CountyVan Zandt
 • Total2.99 sq mi (7.75 km2)
 • Land2.99 sq mi (7.75 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
489 ft (149 m)
 • Total2,632
 • Estimate 
 • Density916.42/sq mi (353.86/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)430, 903
FIPS code48-74912[3]
GNIS feature ID1376568[4]

Van is a city located in southeastern Van Zandt County, Texas, United States about 26 miles northwest of Tyler. Its 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, with the Jarmon No.1 well. The well flowed 147 barrels of oil from the Woodbine Formation at a depth of 2,710 feet (830 m). Sun Oil, Shell Petroleum, the Texas Company, Pure Oil, and Humble became co-owners of the field, with Pure Oil as chief operator. By 1994, the Van Field had produced 502 million barrels of oil.[5][6]

Van experienced an overnight oil boom, growing from a rural farming community with a school and post office, to an oil boomtown where 30 buildings, including hotels and stores, had been constructed in only 10 days. 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 50 in 1934 to a low of 15 in 1945, but remained between 30 and 40 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[edit]

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 located at 32°31′34″N 95°38′11″W / 32.526029°N 95.636493°W / 32.526029; -95.636493 (32.526029, –95.636493).[7] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 sq mi (7.7 km2), all of it land.


Van is served by:


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)2,741[2]4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

2020 census[edit]

Van racial composition[9]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 2,089 78.42%
Black or African American (NH) 55 2.06%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 7 0.26%
Asian (NH) 21 0.79%
Some Other Race (NH) 9 0.34%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 108 4.05%
Hispanic or Latino 375 14.08%
Total 2,664

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 2,664 people, 951 households, and 710 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2000, 2,362 people, 894 households, and 616 families were residing in the city. The population density was 789.6 people/sq mi (305.0/km2). The 999 housing units were at an average density of 334.0/sq mi (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. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 7.11% of the population.

Of the 894 households, 33.9% had children under 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 not families. About 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.59, and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, theage distribution was 27.9% under 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 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 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.


Van is served by the Van Independent School District and home to the Van High School Vandals. It is also in the Tyler Junior College taxing district, as many residents attend the school.

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ Smith, Julia. "Van Field". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  6. ^ Clark, James; Halbouty, Michael (1972). The Last Oil Boom. New York: Random House. pp. 42–43. ISBN 0394482328.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ U.S. Decennial Census;
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  10. ^[not specific enough to verify]
  11. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  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.[10][11]

External links[edit]