BOLING, TEXAS. Boling is on Farm roads 1301 and 442 and the west bank of Caney Creek, nine miles southeast of Wharton in southeastern Wharton County. The community was established in 1900, when the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway built through the area. Robert E. Vineyard had a town plat surveyed and named it Bolling in honor of his six-year-old daughter, Mary Bolling Vineyard. The post office listing altered the spelling.
Before the arrival of the railroad, the site was known as Floyd's Lane and was on the trail that led to crossings on the San Bernard and Colorado rivers. Until after the railroad was built, no major road, only a trail along Caney Creek, led to Wharton from the site. The railroad brought in a few settlers, but the area remained largely in the hands of large landowners, remnants from the plantation era.
In 1907 Boling had a school for black students, with four teachers and an enrollment of 104. These children were primarily the descendants of former slaves whose families still lived in the area, working as tenant, sharecropper, or salaried agricultural workers on the large land tracts. In 1907 the community had a store, a blacksmith shop, and fewer than a dozen families.
Beginning in 1925, sulfur, oil, and gas were discovered at Boling Dome, and Boling became a boomtown. Its population grew from twenty in 1920 to 450 in 1930. One of the new Boling subdivisions named all its streets after oil companies operating on Boling Dome. Vineyard's platted town became a residential section, rather than a business district as he had hoped. A post office established at the community in 1926 had one rural-route service in the 1980s.
A Boling Chamber of Commerce was established in 1935, and by 1944 the town's population reached 800. The Boling Independent School District was organized in 1941, bringing in schools in Iago and Newgulf to help form the district. In 1973 part of the Hungerford Independent School District was consolidated into the Boling district. The high school campus was in Boling, the junior high campus in Iago, and the elementary campus in Newgulf.
In the early 1990s the town's economy was based largely on oil, gas, and sulfur production. Its population was reported as 700 from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s and declined to 521 by 1972. Thereafter the number of residents began to increase again, to 1,297 by 1990. The closure of the sulfur plant at Newgulf in December 1993 adversely affected the Boling economy. In 2000 the combined population of the Boling-Iago area was 1,271.
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