Earlier this year my daughter (who will turn twelve in a few days) asked me if there are any ghost towns in Texas. “Yes,” I replied, “and we’ve even been to a few. Dubina, Serbin, Northrup, Washington on the Brazos, Manda…”
My response surprised her. I can’t say I blame her; when I was her age, I thought of ghost towns as being something like Bodie, California. I expected empty streets expected lots of old wooden buildings with dusty furniture still inside. I expected rusting cars and abandoned equipment and tumbleweeds. You know, the sort of place that where you half expect to encounter the 1960s-era Clint Eastwood around the next corner.
Manda, Texas isn’t that kind of ghost town. There aren’t any rusting cars and tumbleweeds, and I didn’t see the Man With No Name lurking about.
Even at its height, it was never as large as Bodie; the Handbook of Texas indicates that it may have peaked at around forty at the turn of the twentieth century. At one point it supported a post office/general store, a cotton gin, and a Methodist church.
It also supported this school, which operated until 1963. Today this building and the Methodist cemetery are the only remaining reminders of Manda, Texas.