HUNTINGTON, TEXAS. Huntington is on U.S. Highway 69 and the Southern Pacific line, fifteen miles northwest of Zavalla and ten miles east of Lufkin in central Angelina County. It was established in 1900 and named for Collis P. Huntington, the chairman of the board of the Southern Pacific. The railroad line from Beaumont to Dallas was built through Huntington in May 1903. Huntington, like nearby towns in Angelina County, was carved from virgin forests during the heyday of the southern pine timber industry. Attempts in the 1880s by Lewis Baird and Alvin Russell to locate a townsite near the rich pine stands of the area had been futile. It was not until the arrival of the railroad line that E. A. Blount of Nacogdoches and W. J. Townsend, Sr., of Lufkin were able to establish a town at the site. Blount and Townsend intended to name the town Old Homer to honor the former county seat of Angelina County, but eventually settled on the name Huntington. In June 1900 the townsite was laid out and lots were sold at public auction. Many people became drunk at this auction and a free-for-all ensued. The community’s post office was established in 1900 with R. D. Chapman as postmaster. That year A. F. Smith built a sawmill two miles to the east, and a few years later Joe Burnaman built a larger mill near the town. From that time onward, Huntington’s economic mainstays were lumbering and farming.
The Huntington Baptist Church was organized in 1902. Later churches included the Pentecostal and Church of Christ congregations, as well as the Highway Baptist Church and the Huntington Methodist Church. In 1904 Huntington had 600 residents. A local telephone exchange was established in 1907 and electrical service in 1927. During the Great Depression the community’s population declined to 400, but it rose again immediately afterward. The town was incorporated in 1937, and Fowler Burris became the first mayor. In the 1940s the community had thirty businesses. By 1960 its population was 1,009, and by 1970 it was 1,192. The Huntington-Zavalla Herald, founded on July 12, 1972, has a heritage in earlier Huntington newspapers-the Huntington Herald (1911), the Huntington Messenger (1920), the Huntington Weekly News (1928), and its successor, theAngelina County News (1939). During the 1960s Huntington became the location of the Huntington State Bank, one of seven financial institutions serving Angelina County at that time. Huntington reported a population of 1,672 and thirty businesses in 1980. In 1990 its population was 1,794. By 2000 the population was 2,068 with 118 businesses.
Angelina County Historical Survey Committee, Land of the Little Angel: A History of Angelina County, Texas, ed. Bob Bowman (Lufkin, Texas: Lufkin Printing, 1976). Archie Birdsong Mathews, The Economic Development of Angelina County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1952).
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