Marlin, Texas

Marlin, Texas
Marlin, Texas
—  City  —
Marlin Mineral Water Pavilion, 2011
Nickname(s): The Mineral Water City of Texas
Location of Marlin, Texas
Coordinates: 31°18′29″N 96°53′35″W / 31.30806°N 96.89306°W / 31.30806; -96.89306Coordinates: 31°18′29″N 96°53′35″W / 31.30806°N 96.89306°W / 31.30806; -96.89306
Country United States
State Texas
County Falls
Settled 1834
Incorporated 1867
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Council
 - Total 4.6 sq mi (11.8 km2)
 - Land 4.5 sq mi (11.7 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 390 ft (119 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,628
 - Density 1,465.4/sq mi (565.8/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 76661
Area code(s) 254
FIPS code 48-46740[1]
GNIS feature ID 1362189[2]

Marlin is a city in Falls County, Texas, United States. The population was 6,628 at the 2000 census, but decreased to 5,967 by 2010.[3] It is also the (third) county seat of Falls County, and has been so since 1851. Marlin has been given the nickname the Hot Mineral Water City of Texas when mineral waters were found in 1892.




The city of Marlin is located about four miles (6 km) east of the Brazos River, which runs straight through the center of the county. That was the site of Sarahville de Viesca, in which was established by Sterling C. Robertson in the year of 1834. Marlin was later incorporated in 1867, and was named after a pioneer patriot, John Marlin. His son-in-law was Samuel A. Blain. Blain laid out streets and lots, and drafted a map around a square. Three churches—a Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist—were given lots first, and relocated to the east side of the square. Zenas Bartlett's General Store was the first business to be established in Marlin. When Bartlett's wife died, the general store was deeded to the city and used as a town hall. A simple brick building temporarily stood as a school. The first of four county courthouses was a log cabin. It was used for county business and court, a school, a church, a meeting place for political and community events, and as a dance hall. The fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1938 and 1939, after the third courthouse, which was built in 1887, was declared unsafe.

Before the county of Falls was organized, the settlement of Marlin already had established private schools. A tuition school, Marlin Male and Female Academy was located on Ward Street in 1871, north of the public square. The school was renamed and relocated before finally being sold in 1886, only to be destroyed by fire in 1900. A replacement, brick school was constructed in 1903. Marlin I.S.D. (Independent School District) was established in 1923. Nearly half a century before in 1875, two other schools for blacks were organized. The two black schools were dependent on state funds, and met in the African and Baptist churches. In 1916, the city council voted to build a school for blacks, which after it was first built, it was moved to Commerce Street, (where it is still located today) and named Booker T. Washington. In 1900, the town's Jewish residents organized a Sunday School.[4]

1890s Bring Good to Marlin; Falls and Arlington Hotels

Despite not going over the 15,000 population barrier, Marlin did get many tourists from around the country for its famous mineral water, which was believed to heal any sickness or pain, by bathing in it. Even though the waters had a smell to them, they still seemed to be 'magic' when people bathed in the stuff, and actually felt better. Bath houses were opened around the town of Marlin so people could come and takes bathes in the mineral water, after it was discovered in 1892 during the search for an artesian well. The mineral water had put the town on the map as hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to the area. Marlin got the name of the Mineral Water City of Texas.

Also in 1892, the Bank of Marlin was opened, and was run for over seventy years, closing in about the year of 1963.

The New York Giants baseball team (now the San Francisco Giants) held their spring training in Marlin from 1908-18.

In 1929, Conrad Hilton built his eighth Hilton Hotel in his chain in Marlin, a nine-floor, 110 room building that could be seen for miles out of the city limits of Marlin, named the Falls Hotel. Across the street was the Marlin Sanitarium Bathhouse. An underground tunnel connected the two buildings.

A fire destroyed the underground tunnel. The Sanatarium Bath House was torn down and the Falls Hotel was closed. It is still the tallest building in Falls County today. The location of the bath house is now the city post office and a gazebo park. The location of where another nearby hotel on Coleman Street, the Arlington Hotel, is now the location of a Mexican restaurant, Lupita's, and the Marlin Inn. The Arlington Hotel was first built as a three-floor hotel in 1895, and burned in 1899. An even more grand structure made of brick and stone was made after that, taller than three floors, but it was soon closed down as well.

The first floor of the Falls Hotel is the only part of the hotel that the public can visit. Original rooms of the hotel are now another Mexican restaurant, a beauty salon, and an eye doctor. City events are also held in the ballroom of the Falls Hotel.

Mineral water can only be found in a fountain right outside of the Marlin Chamber of Commerce, which is just shy of the old location of the Arlington Hotel. Citizens are allowed to control the water whenever they want by turning the fountain on and off.

Modern Utilities in Marlin

Phones began appearing in households in Marlin in the year 1900. Automobiles, electricity, and Lone Star gas followed shortly. By the mid-1900s, Marlin had a bottling company, stock pens, a brickyard, a turkey-processing plant, (building can still be seen on Williams Street/South Business Highway 6) a saddlery, a water crystallization plant, and a pottery plant.

The 2000's

At the census in 2000, Marlin had a population of 6,628, a increase of 242 more people from 1990, when the census said Marlin had a population of 6,386. Things went downhill from there.

Wallace, a business-form printing company which was the job center of hundreds in Marlin, closed in the mid-2000s. A styrofoam company had been open in another building in Marlin's declining industrial park, had caught fire and the remains were demolished. The Thomas Connally Veteran's Affair Hospital, an eight-floor building in the residential area of Marlin, located at the corner of Ward and Virginia Streets closed completely in 2005, losing even more hundreds of jobs to Marlinites, as the economy in Marlin continued to struggle.

By 2009, different census estimates had said that Marlin's population had decreased by between 400 and 800 people. Though it looked like the 2010 census would show Marlin has a town with a population in the 5000's, things looked good for Marlin. An article in the Waco Tribune-Herald showed residents of the rapidly growing, nearby Waco, Texas that Marlin could grow. A new $10-million water plant was about two months from being finished that would improve Marlin's water, which has proved to be unreliable in the past. The article mentioned a three-floor, sixty-room Best Western Hotel that was being constructed on Highway 6 at the intersection of the highway and Farm-to-Market Road 147. The Veterans' Affair hospital that had been shut down years before was now being renovated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice of Marlin as a hospital for prisoners. The hospital would employ 100-150 people. Also the Bible Way Church Family Worship Center would be opening up a new 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) facility that would double as a church and a community center, offering sports, a medical clinic, skating, and other activities.

But the major story in the Sunday article was that "Coach" Ken Carter would be opening up a boarding school for boys in the Fall of 2009, for boys who might be facing poverty, and underachievers ready to make a change. The boarding school would be at the former home of the Marlin Middle School. Coach Carter is well-known for his 2005 movie Coach Carter, based on a true story about a basketball coach whose team was currently 13-0, but learned that his students were doing poorly in the classes, if even attending them. Carter lockdowned the gymnasium until the grades of fifteen of his players who were failing improved to at least a 2.3 grade point average. The lockdown lasted for eight days as the team had to forfeit two games. Eventually the team would finish 19-5.

Ken Carter had not known about Marlin before the movie. After finishing shooting the movie, Carter was in Dallas when he rented a car and just took a drive down Interstate 35 to Waco, and turned south onto Highway 6 and discovered Marlin, a town that he instantly fell in love with, which does not happen very often. "I fell in love with this little town. I enjoyed the people, and I loved how green everything was." said Carter.

Coach Carter spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from his movies into renovating the old, abandoned buildings. The boarding school will serve for grades from 8-12, and the first year will have up to 150 students, 64 to live on campus in dorms with a kitchen and laundry rooms. The total school day will be 12 hours with homework and sports, including basketball, football, and baseball. The students will also run their own store and barber shop on campus.

"We want the new generation to start thinking differently. People ask me, 'Why Marlin?' And I say, 'why not Marlin?' They act as if no great thing can come from Marlin."

A town meeting held at the former middle school buildings attracted guests such as Martin Luther King III.


Marlin is located at 31°18′29″N 96°53′35″W / 31.30806°N 96.89306°W / 31.30806; -96.89306 (31.307975, -96.892975)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), of which, 4.5 square miles (12 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.09%) is water.


Highways and other major roads


Marlin and Falls County are served by the Marlin Municipal Airport, located about three miles (5 km) northeast of the Marlin city limits.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 500
1880 1,500 200.0%
1890 2,058 37.2%
1900 3,092 50.2%
1910 3,878 25.4%
1920 4,310 11.1%
1930 5,338 23.9%
1940 6,542 22.6%
1950 7,099 8.5%
1960 6,918 −2.5%
1970 6,351 −8.2%
1980 7,099 11.8%
1990 6,386 −10.0%
2000 6,628 3.8%
2010 5,967 −10.0%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,628 people, 2,415 households, and 1,509 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,465.4 people per square mile (566.2/km²). There were 2,826 housing units at an average density of 624.8 per square mile (241.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.00% White, 24.48% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 11.62% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.30% of the population.

There were 2,415 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% were married couples living together, 22.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city the population was spread out with 33.2% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,443, and the median income for a family was $26,861. Males had a median income of $25,220 versus $18,111 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,555. About 27.9% of families and 31.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.8% of those under age 18 and 16.8% of those age 65 or over. Marlin currently on the upswing and should return to its haydays in the near future.

Government and infrastructure

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Marlin Unit, a transfer facility for men, in the City of Marlin. The unit opened in June 1992 and was transferred to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) in May 1995.[6] When it was a part of TYC, the facility, named the Marlin Orientation and Assessment Unit,[7] served as the place of orientation for children of both sexes being committed into TYC from the facility's opening in 1995 to its transfer out of TYC in 2007.[8] In September 2007 the facility was transferred back to the TDCJ.[6] The TDCJ also operates the William P. Hobby Unit, a prison for women located southwest of Marlin in unincorporated Falls County and named for former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby.[9]

The United States Postal Service operates the Marlin Post Office.[10]


The City of Marlin is served by the Marlin Independent School District, and is also home to the Coach Carter Impact Academy, opened and ran by Ken "Coach" Carter.


The city of Marlin has had several newspapers. The current one that has been serving Marlin since 1890 is the Marlin Democrat, issued every Wednesday. Other newspapers that were being published in the 19th and 20th centuries were The Falls County Freeman, ran by the black community. The Marlin Ball was first established in 1874 by T.C. Oltorf and continued until about the year of 1901. The Falls County Record was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. To this day, The Marlin Democrat and The Rosebud News remain the only active newspapers in Falls County.

Popular culture

Filmed in Marlin

Notable people



  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Marlin at the
  4. ^ "Marlin, Texas", found in the Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities,
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Marlin Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  7. ^ "Facility Address List." Texas Youth Commission. November 10, 2001. Retrieved on June 24, 2010.
  8. ^ "How Offenders Move Through TYC." Texas Youth Commission. November 10, 2001. Retrieved on June 24, 2010.
  9. ^ "Hobby Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  10. ^ "Post Office™ Location - MARLIN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  11. ^ Films Shot in Marlin
  12. ^ Marlin, Texas film locations
  13. ^ Alexander, Charles C. (1995). John McGraw. Bison Books, reprint from Viking. pp. 48. ISBN 0803259255. 
  14. ^ "Daniel Kubiak". Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  15. ^ Coach Carter opens up boys academy

External links

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