Ghost Town – Sylvester, TX

Sylvester is another town I pass through every time I go to Wichita Falls. I’ve seen the walls of this building passing by, so I finally decided to stop and see what it was.

This is another abandoned school. Two stories and pretty big for this town. There’s no telling when this school was shut down, as there’s plenty of trees growing inside.

Again, it’s a really large school for a town this size.

The full Flickr Set can be seen here.

 

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  1. Kelly says:

    i grew up in near by McCaulley, wich is also been closed over 20 years… and i often went to Sylvester..and many times wondered what the school looked like inside.. thanks for posting really kool to see inside of it. after all these years.. i would love to find out more of the school’s history.. when it was opened and closed… just kinda sad all these country schools had to close down… man oh man.. thanks again for the photo……. Kelly

    • Cutter says:

      That’s cool, my couch( Kyle Jeffrey) tells us stories about growing up in McCaullry, it seems very interesting. Did you attend McCaulley school at anytime before it shut down?

      • Kelly Don Sherman says:

        Yes i did. i went to Mccaulley from 1984 to 1990. the high school closed in 87-88 school year.
        my bother and sister were in high school and my little sister was in 2nd grade, we were the eagles. played on the football field many games.

  2. Truman Kimmey says:

    My mother was born in Sylvester (1920)-I’ve traveled from Oklahoma City to Midland, ,Tx. many times, have been thru Roby but don’t remember even seeing a road sign mentioning Sylvester-Any idea what curent populatiuon is?

    • Bob Deel says:

      The last time I passed by Sylvester, the population was 78, I believe. That was in 2010.

    • Cutter says:

      That’s cool, my couch( Kyle Jeffrey) tells us stories about growing up in McCaullry, it seems very interesting. Did you attend McCaulley school at anytime before it shut down?

  3. Steven Maier says:

    Truman, I’ll be sure to look at the sign when I pass through this weekend.

    Kelly, thanks for the photos. I agree, it is sad to see these once great structures just left to fall to the ground.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. lori says:

    My mother was one of the last kids to attend sylvester. School closed in 1949. I still live in Sylvester

    • Steven Maier says:

      Wow, that’s interesting! Thanks for posting. I still go through Sylvester every time I go to Wichita Falls and back.

    • Bill Brown says:

      I also graduated in 1949. Who was you mother?

    • Melissa Hardwick Lawless says:

      I LIVED ACROSS THE STREET FROM School for several years my brother lives in Sylvester now. My Mom was the postmistress their for 20 years or more. My parents owned the store there for years.

      • Robert Brewer says:

        That’s funny My grandparents also owned the grocery store there for years. It was on the corner at the main intersection. Their name was Brewer. They also owned the bank and other buildings before they burned down in the 1940’s. As far as I know it was the only grocery store there for years.

  5. Brandy says:

    Do the Perales’ still live there? My grandparents(Curtis and Jerre Howard) had property there. I spent every summer in Sylvester growing up. Used to ride my bike past the closed Sears store, the school, and the church, to go to the little store to buy candy and a soda. Crazy that they still had a post office. Last I heard the population was 70. Going to drive out there this weekend.

    • lori cary says:

      My aunt and uncle bought MR. and Mrs. Howards property. The Perales are all gone from Sylvester.

    • Bob Deel says:

      Oh my goodness! I remember the Perales’ family. Lolita, the daughter was killed in a school bus accident I think back in the late 70’s, maybe 1978?? And after that I am not sure if the family stayed there or not. The post office was owned by my grandparents, Buford and Ruth Brown……Ruth was the postmaster for many years. We likely crossed paths in those summers, but simply never formally met. My what a small world we live in

    • John Perales says:

      Brandy,

      My name is John (Johnny) Perales, I graduated from McCaulley in 1974 and my entire family has moved from Sylvester. Please contact me I love to catch up.

      Respectfully,

      John Perales
      (901) 592-9272

      • Mona Brown says:

        Hello John,

        We may be related, my mother is the daughter of Luis Lerma. Her brothers were Elijio, Juan, Santos and a Sister Elena.
        My Grandma told my mom that she resembled Lolita.
        Santos was telling us today of the tragic story of Lolita. So sorry for your families loss.
        If you would like to correspond that would be wonderful.
        Sincerely,
        Mona Brown

    • John Perales says:

      Brandy,

      I’m John (Johnny) Perales I grew up in Sylvester graduated in 1974 and joined the Navy and now live just north of Memphis in Millington, TN. Email me I love to catch up.

    • Cutter says:

      I’ve heard about the Perales’ they’re daughter, Lolita was killed in the 1978 bus crash, sad that McCaulley had to shut down.

  6. brandon reed says:

    my grandfather bill wayne reed grew up on a farm outside sylvester. i remember him taking me there when i was little showing me the school he attended, the gas station and other hangouts he would go to. he lives in roby now. i have been trying to look up his parents info james bobby reed and velma smith reed kinda intrested to learn about them and sylvester texas.

  7. Bill Brown says:

    I graduated from Sylvester High School in 1949 with 12 in my graduating class. That was the last year of schools there.

    • Steven Maier says:

      Thanks for commenting! That’s very interesting and quite a small class.

    • James H McHaney, Jr. says:

      True that the High School closed in 1949, but the Elementary School with Grades 1 – 8 operated 4 more years. The elementary grades were two to a classroom, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8..
      Mrs Miller taught 1-2.
      Mrs Ward taught 3-4 until she moved elsewhere at mid year and was replaced by Shirley McHaney.
      Mrs Scott was home room for 5-6 and James H McHaney was home room for 7-8 as well as serving as Sylvester Principal under Fisher County Superintendent Mr Dalton with office in Courthouse.
      I attended Grades 1 – 4 in Sylvester until the School Closed and students transfered to Roby, McCaulley and Trent.
      James McHaney and Shirley (Griffin) McHaney both graduated from Sylvester High School in the mid 1930s. Shirley attended & graduated from Texas Women’s College in Denton. James was attending Texas A&M College when the 36th Division was mobilized. After WWII Major McHaney returned to College Station to graduate from Texas A&M.
      Major McHaney is one of the names on the monuments on the West side of Courthouse in Roby.

  8. Stephen Boen says:

    I too spent a lot of summers visiting my mammaw (Velma Reed). My mother and her parents are buried in the Sylvester cemetary. I would love to know the history of this town with pictures. Its where my mom grew up and I still have an uncle (Billy Wayne Reed) in the Roby area.

  9. Charles Edwards says:

    I was born it Rotan, Tx. In Jan. ’50 and lived with my parents, Wilmer “Pop” and Ila Edwards in Sylvester until ’53. My Grandparents, John and Myrtie Edwards are buried in the Sylvester Cemetery. My aunt and uncle, Merrina and Richard Babb are buried near FM 1085 and CR 163. Every two years in early Nov. they have a “Homecoming” to see whos still around. Pop has been there several times including this year–I still love “kickin’ rocks” around the old school even though there isnot much left of it. Pop is 95 now and was a proud “Cardinal.”

  10. Brandon reed says:

    Stephen my name is Brandon Reed your uncle is my grandfather I would like to get together with you somehow either by phone or email and maybe tell you some things about sylvester and maybe get some info from you.

  11. jullie says:

    My husband drives through this town on his way to Midland, Tx. He pulled over and took some pics. His curiosity led us to this post. Just curious…. What happened to the town?

    • Roenna Thomas says:

      The town was built because of the railroad and swiftly grew. The railroad is long gone. The gypsum plant in Longworth closed. The cotton gin in Sylvester closed. There is no business in Sylvester. The Methodist church closed its doors. There only remains the Baptist Church and the Post Office, which is on the list for future closures.

  12. My name is Donald Stone says:

    I lived in Sylvester growing up. I was born in McCauley, Texas. II went to school in Sylvester from the first grade to the eighth. Then we moved to Sweetwater, Texas 21 miles away. My best childhood memories are from Sylvester.. My wife, LuJean. who was from Sweetwater, now live in Hong Kong China. We have been missionaries for over 40 years. My most wonderful memory of Sylvester was the day I was saved in the Baptist Church. I was baptized 3 days later on March 23, 1943. I still own the property where I lived with my father, mother, and my brother Billy Oliver Stone, who now lives in Amarillo, Texas. I love the pictures o Sylvester. They brought back many memories. One correction to an email someone wrote: There was never a Sears Store in Sylvester. The closest one was in Sweetwater, 21 miles away. Sylvester still has Reunion that is held every two years. Anyone that has attended lately and sees this, please give us your thoughts.

    Don Stone, Hong Kong

  13. Bob Deel says:

    Steven,
    My mother grew up in this little community of Sylvester with her parents William Buford and Ruth Brown. When I was a teenager(late 60s to mid 70s) I would visit my grandparents. My cousins and I would walk all over the town and at that time the school was closed, but the building was intact…..all windows and doors were still in place. The second floor was the auditorium and the stage was located at the east end of the second floor. The huge maroon curtains were still functional, although the ceiling housed hundreds, maybe thousands of bats and other mammals. We would go into the building and pretend to be in classes, then go up the stairs to the auditorium and play act on stage. In 1976 I graduated from Levelland High School, TX and my continuing education forced me to not be able to visit Sylvester as often. When I did come back to Sylvester I witnessed the continual decay of the old school building. My grandmother was the postmaster for many years, and after her retirement and my grandfather retired from the Santa Fe railroad, they eventually moved to Sweetwater and eventually passed away in the late 80s. I have been back to Sylvester only a few times, but get a tear in my eye when I see my grandparents old place and the old skeleton of the school building.
    Thanks for the memorable pics of the old school. To be honest, my mother attended grade school in that building, then I think it might have closed in 1950?????. My mom’s 9th grade thru graduation in 1954 was at Roby High School. If you have any other questions about this school, I would be glad to send a letter, or talk on the phone in detail about this. The building holds a special place in my heart.

    • Bob Deel says:

      I should have read thru your other comments from people. The comment you received from Bill Brown hit home. Bill is my mother’s brother, or my uncle. He is the oldest of his siblings, and my mom was the youngest.
      I believe his timeline is a bit more accurate than mine.

  14. Coral Alexis says:

    I’m a truck driver & I’m parked here in Sylvester for the night tonight, I didn’t have any more hours I could drive, legally. The town seems pretty spooky so I googled it to see what I could find & came across this post. Soo crazy- the history & memories & I love what Bob Deel said about playing at the school after it was closed.

  15. William Scott says:

    I have a house here in this small town and both of my grandparents lived here and attended the church every Sunday. I don’t get by here as often as I would like but I love it there

  16. Curtis Matthew Harris says:

    My family is from Sylvester. Edgar Prewitt Harris Sr, Maud Johnson Harris their son Edgar Prewitt Harris Jr and his sons Clayton Kay Harris and Spurland Jay(Bones)Harris. Clayton is my dad. My dad was born in 1947 and lived almost all of his life in Sylvester. He told me he attended an open house at the school but before he could attend kindergarden the school closed.
    I love this town!! I grew up here. I have so many fond memories of the store and the church and riding horses around town.
    I still live on the family farm outside of town.
    It’s a great town with some great people.

  17. Bob Deel says:

    Thought I would add a fact since my last post. I was able to contact John Perales(reference his comments), as I knew him and his sister Lolita when the Perales family lived in Sylvester. I stayed overnight in the North Memphis, Tennessee area and had dinner with John. We then went to his home and had a wonderful visit, and he shared so much information about the school bus accident in 1978 that killed Lolita Perales and some of her classmates. I plan to see John again in June of 2015 at the FedEx St. Jude’s Classic professional golf tournament.

  18. Karen H Burden says:

    My father Luster Hobbs was born in Sylvester, Tx. In 1907, as was his sister in 1910. Their parents were James Alford ‘Alf’ Hobbs and Jennie Adeline French Hobbs.
    If anyone has reference to this family it would be fun to hear.

  19. Wenzal Hardwick says:

    I stumbled across this site when I Googled Sylvester. I was raised in Sylvester from 1966 until I left in 1985. Ruth Brown was my Sunday school teacher, and was a great neighbor and Buford always had a big Garden which they gave us fruits and vegetables out of. I loved it when their grandson Eric Prather from Sweetwater would come and visit. We were really good friends and went to church camp together. The old school building was fun to play and I can remember when it has a roof and a floor on the top floor. The Campbell boys, Chris Kiser Mary Helen Garcia, and several of the Peralta family would always play upstairs in that old school house. My parents Chub and Bobbie Hardwick owned the grocery store there until 1980 and my Mom took over as Post Master after Ruth Brown retired. Mom retired in 1999 and moved to Abilene in 2001. She passed away in 2008. Alex Perales always hit golf balls around Sylvester and gave me golf swing lessons when I was a kid. Lolita always sang the special music at Sylvester First Baptist Church. I still go back and visit with the Ely’s who still live in the Brown’sugar old house.

  20. Kyle Combest says:

    I googled Sylvester and got this site! We grew up on a farm 1mi north of Sylvester and next to the catfish farm. As boys spent most of our time on the Clear Fork River…throwing rocks, swimming, shooting 22s, and fishing. Very simple and enjoyable times…miss them terribly. Still have the family farm there and grow wheat.

    oh…btw…we rode the bus to Roby school with the Perales family! Great, hard-working family.

    The Clear Fork Café was opened by my aunt Wanda Wier.

  21. Jane Robinson Justice says:

    My great-grandparents were residents of Sylvester, Texas in the 1930’s-Sim and Lula Chapman. Then my grandparents, the Carlos Robinsons lived there in the 1940’s thru the 1970’s. The Robinson’s had a farm outside Sylvester near the Cemetery. I spent lots of summers walking to the filing station to get a coke. I lived in Sweetwater, but spent a week or two in Sylvester each summer. My mother, Tommye Lou Bolin graduated from High School at Sylvester in 1945. Lots of sweet memories. I live in Georgia now, but when we visit Texas I have to see Sylvester and visit the cemetery there.

  22. Tommie White says:

    I live in Sylvester. I moved here in 1995, but have spent my whole life visiting here and many summers visiting my grandparents. Eugene and Gladys Williams were my grandparents. Granddad worked for the railroad and my Grandmother worked at the laundry. I remember the smell of the laundry to this day (the bluing they added to the water). My mother went to school in Sylvester and her brother, Eugene (Buddy) Williams Jr started school in Sylvester but graduated from McCaulley. My grandmothers brother and family also lived in Sylvester, Jack and Pauline Gann. Uncle Jack also worked for the railroad. My grandparents small white frame house burned many years ago and was located near Alfred Douglas’s. I remember going with my grandmother to many events held at the school. After it closed it was used as a community center. I remember being in awe of the dark stained hardwood floors. I also remember being in the auditorium upstairs. It’s sad to see it a shell of it’s former glory now. My parents, Tommy and Evagene Wilson moved back to Sylvester after Dad’s retirement from the ministry. They are both gone now also. There are no businesses in Sylvester now other than the Post Office. I can remember when there were a grocery store, several gas stations, a laundry, cotton gins. I don’t remember it, but at one time there was a bank and hotel. I used to have a brick column from the bank on my property. It’s a quiet, peaceful very small community with a lot of history.

  23. LuAnn says:

    My dad is The grandson of the William (Bill) Lamb Kelly and Cora Kelly! My Dad, Billy Wright, was born in Sylvester and lived there until 1946. They lived up on Turner Hill but bought a house in 1942, not far from that school. Dad can tell lots of stories about growing up there! As a kid we’d go up to that old school house and wander around the hallways and then up to the auditorium. Lots of memories. Anyone remember the Kelly family?

  24. RITA Barina Evans says:

    My name is Rita Barina. There were 8 children in our family and 6 of us were born in Sylvester. We lived south of the cemetery at what we called the cross roads. Our father, Frank Henry Barina died in 1953 and is buried in the Sylvester Cemetery. My grandfather is also buried in the cemetery. We lived in Sylvester until 1960 when we moved to Sweetwater. We live around the DFW metroplex now. My sister & I attend the Sylvester reunion & the Roby homecoming when we can. We enjoy going back.

    • Pam hood stevens says:

      I lived in Sylvester Texas. My brother Tommy went to first grade in the school. That was the last year of the school. My dad James elihugh hood was raised in Sylvester. My grand parents George and Maude hood lived in Sylvester also. They used to run a grocery store in Sylvester.

    • James Herbert McHaney, Jr says:

      Rita,
      I am James Herbert McHaney, Jr, a native of Sylvester. This note is to request that you help my memory for names of your siblings:
      Am I correct that Dorothy was the oldest, followed by Frank Jr (aka Bruno), Wanda, Georgia, but I can’t recall the remainder who were younger than me.
      If I remember correctly, Georgia & I were in the first grade 1949-50.
      The sudden death of Frank Sr was a sad tragedy for the entire Sylvester community.
      I have recently reconnected with Jim Lanning, who was in the same grade as Frank Jr. Jim & Judy (from Rotan) live in San Marcos. Jim’s younger brother Lee & Linda (from Roby) live in Lampassas.
      I have lost contact with the Green Family, who lived within easy walking distance of Barina home. Twins Dale & Gale were in the same grade as me, Janice & Louise were older. I know Dale passed several years ago, but don’t know about the sisters.
      I thought I saw a Facebook post by Wanda, & made a Friend request., but no response – maybe because I am not proficient with Smart Phone.

  25. Fred Junior Young says:

    I was born in Sylvester June 3, 1929, my dad Fred Tyler Young worked for the railroad but he died in February before i was born and is buried along with my Grandmother Bettie Young and my aunt and uncle Lee and Grace Brewer, my kin was Ula and Ila and Laurence Brewer.Aunt Gracie raised me until a started the first grade my mother had moved to Dallas to find a job then she came back to Sylvester and moved me to Dallas.I still have my Cradle Roll Certificate from the Baptist Church signed by Mrs.A M Josey and Mr. Shipman on June 3, 1929 and Rev. C.J. Bryant. I have returned a few times in the last 20 years to visit the cemetery, knocked on a few door wanting to talk to someone, but, nobody home.just a small tin building for the Post Office.

  26. Pam hood stevens says:

    Rita just seen your post. I have thought of your family so often. Have not talked to any of you all in years since you were in Houston area.i am Pam hood stevens live in odessa Texas . Would love to hear from you. Gail was my age. I am on Facebook.

    • James (Jim) Herbert McHaney, Jr. says:

      Pam,
      I am James Herbert McHaney, Jr son of Herbert and Shirley McHaney, who you may recall. We lived past the Beck family house in the flat near Plum Creek.
      I found your Facebook page and made a Friend request. I hope you accept.

  27. Paul says:

    I’ve been dragged to Sylvester many times to visit family there and in McCaulley, what a peaceful little town.

  28. Tyler says:

    I know we,re talking about Sylvester but does anyone happen to remember anything about the McCaully alma mater?

  29. Charles A. Marshall says:

    McCaully Texas. Mr. Green was principal of the school, the Ganns family lived there, Donnie and Ricky. Donnie was killed in a car accident in the early to mid 60’s.
    Go Roby LIONS, Sweetwater Mustangs, Snyder Tigers, and Rotan Yellow Hammers…

  30. Lisa Long says:

    My family lived in Sylvester, TX from 1999 to 2002. My dad was the pastor of the Baptist church there. In 2000, the reported population was 79. We lived in the parsonage beside the church right in front of the field where the old school house is. We used to go play in that building all the time. It looked exactly like it does in these pictures, just a shell of a building, but there were old clothes laying around all over the ground inside. That always creeped me out. We had the post office and two churches. That was it. The only other kids that lived in Sylvester was the Moffet kids, Josh and Shanda. We all love elsewhere now, so I’d be interested to find out who the youngest person is living in Sylvester now. We had to drive 10 miles to Roby to go to school or to find a gas station/convenient store. I wish there were a way to find out more of an in depth history of the town, especially that old school. What shut it down?

  31. James H McHaney, Jr. says:

    True that the High School closed in 1949, but the Elementary School with Grades 1 – 8 operated 4 more years. The elementary grades were two to a classroom, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8..
    Mrs Miller taught 1-2.
    Mrs Ward taught 3-4 until she moved elsewhere at mid year and was replaced by Shirley McHaney.
    Mrs Scott was home room for 5-6 and James H McHaney was home room for 7-8 as well as serving as Sylvester Principal under Fisher County Superintendent Mr Dalton with office in Courthouse.
    I attended Grades 1 – 4 in Sylvester until the School Closed and students transfered to Roby, McCaulley and Trent.
    James McHaney and Shirley (Griffin) McHaney both graduated from Sylvester High School in the mid 1930s. Shirley attended & graduated from Texas Women’s College in Denton. James was attending Texas A&M College when the 36th Division was mobilized. After WWII Major McHaney returned to College Station to graduate from Texas A&M.
    Major McHaney is one of the names on the monuments on the West side of Courthouse in Roby.

  32. Article and Photo from the Nov. 9, 1976 Abilene reporter-News. https://photos.app.goo.gl/jnhQ4WRKhBoXwQsW8

  33. Brooke Estes says:

    Hello, my family farms/ranches near Sylvester and we have lived here since about the 60s. My family members attended McCaulley schools until they closed, my dad and uncle continued their education at Roby; where I also attended school. We still attend the Sylvester Baptist Church. I would like to invite anyone to attend our services if you are ever in the area on Sunday, please also join our page on Facebook – “Sylvester Baptist Church”. We would love nothing more than to reconnect with past community members.

  34. Diane Lovvorn says:

    My grandparents were Lea and Eddie Dickerson. They lived at Newman many years then moved to Sylvester. I spent many summers and Sundays with them. Their oldest son, Leon, was the butcher at the grocery store. This was in the 50’s. Leon and Ruby had 3 children. My parents Arvalee and Frankie Dickerson attended school there. My mother is the daughter of Frank and Hattie Turner. I understand the reunion is this October. Last time she knew few people there. Mom is 89 and wants to attend the reunion.

  35. Elizabeth Lea says:

    Found all the comments very interesting. My children just received notice of seizure of property that is located in Sylvester. They were unaware that they owned property there. Their father inherited half ownership from his parents Maxine and Robert Edward Lea II according to the records. No one in the family knows how or when my in-laws acquired the property. According to the notice, 6 lots are valued at $350 and 2 additional lots are valued at $250. There not sure they want to pay almost $200 in back taxes and bring the property into compliance with city ordinances to avoid potential fines. We are assuming that my in-laws inherited this property from his father Robert Edward Lea I. If anyone has any information concerning these people we would appreciate it. Elizabeth Lea. 903-278-1342