HISTORICAL SUMMARY by Jonathan Guajardo
The former ranching community of Doole, Texas sits 28 miles Northwest of Brady at the intersection of FM 503 and FM 765. Settled by the Gansel Family, Doole was originally known as the town of Gansel during its early days. Unfortunately, their request for a post office under that name was denied in 1911. Due to this setback, the townspeople renamed their community Doole, after Brady’s postmaster, David Doole, who had been advising them on the name change.
By 1914, Doole maintained a population of 25, and by the 1940s, the town maintained a steady population of 250 and held within its city limits: a school, a church, and ten businesses, including a diner, a grocery store, and a mechanic’s shop. The population declined to 40 in the 1960s and, despite a small spike in the 70s, continued to decline until it finally evolved into the ghost town that it is today.
Note: Doole is the only ghost town we’ve visited that still maintains its own zip code (76836).
STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS by William Timmerman
The town of Doole, TX is still functioning, although only a handful of families still live there. They live among the ruins of this town that was founded in the dust-bowl era and was mostly disbanded by the 1970s. I will rate the school and the houses separately since they are from different eras and are built with different construction methods.
Characteristics: Doole’s high school is set atop a hill on the northwest corner of the intersection of FM765 and FM503 [map 1]. The school itself has been demolished, and a small community center has taken its place. However, there is still an extensive system of walls from the 1930s that are still in fairly good condition. These waist-high stone boundaries form the outline of the school as well as the schoolyard. The stadium seats, built into the east face of hill, are also a notable feature.
Structural Integrity (4/10): The stadium seats are partially collapsed and unstable. Made out of concrete slabs and rock, they have cracked and shifted in the dry shrink-swell clay soil. The walls are 80% intact with some sections missing or inaccessible due to overgrowth.
Vandalism (1/10): There is no vandalism or graffiti present.
Characteristics: The rest of the homes are from the 1950s-1970s. They are in remarkable shape considering the way they have decayed in place, with many of the original furnishings intact.
Residential Structural Integrity (6/10): Many of the houses suffer from mold, termite and water damage. Floorboards and wallpaper are damaged. In one of the houses the fireplace chimney collapsed. Most of the doors are not preset. Be warned that there are vibrant communities of bees that hang inside the houses.
Residential Vandalism (1/10): There is no vandalism or graffiti present.