The City of Alvarado, Texas Introduced
Alvarado, Texas, with a population of around 4000, is situated on Interstate Highway 35W, about 26 miles south of Fort Worth. It’s proximity to the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area makes it a great place to find small town living with access to the amenities, sights, and attractions of the city. Like all of Texas, the weather is hot in the summer, but comfortable throughout the rest of the year. There is some risk of tornado and hurricane weather in season.
Of course, people living in or visiting Alvarado can go to Dallas or Fort Worth to see the sights, but there are some nice small town things they can do without leaving Alvarado. For instance, Alvarado Park Lake lies only two miles out of town, and makes a nice place to go boating, fishing, or picnicking.
Alvarado Parkway Park is a nice family park which includes skateboard and playground facilities.
Alvarado also has a thriving public library which offers many interesting options and programs. For instance, a writers’ group meets there weekly for learning and encouragement. You can also attend children’s, teens’, and adults’ movie showings or play interactive games while there.
In August of every year, the city hosts the “Pioneers and Old Settlers Reunion,” which is billed as the premier homecoming event for the state of Texas. It is a week-long fair with live music, carnival rides, and more.
For the young and the young at heart, Country Critters Farm is a fun place to visit. Here you can enjoy the petting zoo, pumpkin patch, tractor and train rides, mazes, and more throughout the seasons. Country Critters Farm is located on County Road 617.
For those who are a little more adventurous, DFW Pro Paintball Park offers a chance for members to experience paintball play at its best.
When the census of 2000 was taken, 52% of the homes included married couples living together. The percentage of homes with children under 18 was 37.6%. Racially, about 81% of the residents were white, 7% were African American, and 18% were Hispanic. Less than 1% were of Asian or Native American descent. The average household income was about $31,000 per year. Fourteen percent of the population was living under the poverty line. The average home value was around $83,000, and the average rent payment was $630.
Alvarado was originally planned by two settlers, William Balch and G. H. Sigler. The town’s first sheriff, A.H. Onstoott, named Alvarado after Alvarado, Vera Cruz, Mexico, where he had fought in a battle in the Mexican War. The town had 350 residents by the summer of 1854, and included 4 churches, a school, a post office, and more than a dozen businesses.
The city really began to grow in 1881 when the railroad came through. Two important rail lines, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe, and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas brought in new settlers and new business so that the population ballooned to over 1000 by 1885. They decided to incorporate in June of that year. Alvarado had a bank, a newspaper (the Alvarado Bulletin), an opera house, and a hotel by then. The second bank opened up in 1890.
Alvarado continued to slowly increase in population through the Great Depression and war years, but it really took off in the last few decades as the nearby urban areas grew. It now makes a convenient place to live for those working in the cities nearby.
Historically, Alvarado has been an agricultural community, but in recent years it has become more industrial in focus. The Sabre Tubular Structures plant employs hundreds of people in the manufacturing of steel poles. This 200,000 square foot facility houses the largest hot dip galvanizing system in North America.
Another industry in recent years has been natural gas production. The Barnett Shale is a geological formation in the Alvarado area that is thought to contain the largest natural gas reserves of any onshore drilling project in the United States. The process of drilling for this gas has been controversial, however, because of the possibility of damage to the environment. The fact that it is located underneath the growing Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area further complicates getting to this natural gas. Even so, it has been a source of income and wealth in Alvarado over the past decade.