Belle Plain, Texas

History

Belle Plain (also referred to as Belle Plaine), is located six miles southeast of Baird off of Hwy 283.  The townsite was laid out in 1875 and it was intended that Belle Plaine would become a commercial center for the county.  The town was established in 1876 and soon a saloon and other businesses opened up in the new town.  Callahan County was established in 1877, and soon after an election was held to choose the county seat of the new county.  Belle Plain won out over Callahan City, the temporary county seat.  A courthouse and a jail were built, businesses opened, and residents moved to Belle Plain from Callahan City and other communities.

Belle Plain College, Belle Plain, Texas

Belle Plain College, photo from HistoricTexas.net

Soon, Belle Plain had several stores, saloons, two fraternal lodges, eleven lawyers and four physicians.  The Callahan County Clarendon, a newspaper, began in 1879.  The population grew to 400 in 1884. 

In 1880, the Texas and Pacific Railroad came through Callahan County and bypassed Belle Plain, making its tracks about 5 miles to the north of Belle Plain and going through Baird. Belle Plains' economy remained stable for a while.  And, soon in 1881 the Belle Plain College, Methodist institution, was the pride of the community.  Enrollment swelled to 300 students. But, even the college couldn't save Belle Plain.  Businesses and residents moved toward the railroad.  Baird became the larger commerce area. Soon, the college closed and Baird won out over Belle Plain as the county seat.  The jail was disassembled and moved to Baird.  By 1897, only four families and one store remained in Belle Plain.  The post office closed in 1909.  Source: Source: Handbook of Texas Online.

Belle Plain. First official county seat of Callahan County, 1877-1883. The first unofficial county seat was Callahan City where the commissioners court was organized, July 30, 1877, and several civil and probate cases filed by an invalid election, October 13th, and a valid election, December 9, 1877 Belle Plain was selected. On January 16, 1883, the county seat was located at Baird. - Historical Marker Text.  Marker erected 1936.

Schools

Belle Plain College >>

Belle Plains Intermediate School

Cemeteries

Belle Plain Cemetery >>

Books

Belle Plain, Texas: Ghost Town in Callahan, by Thomas Robert Havins (Brownwood, Texas: Brown Press, 1972)