Roscoe, on U.S. highways 20/80 and 84 and Farm Road 608, eight miles west of Sweetwater in northwest Nolan County, originated in 1890. It was originally called Vista, for an official of the Texas and Pacific Railway, which built through in 1881. When citizens applied for a post office in 1892, the name Roscoe replaced Vista. Growth was stimulated in 1894, when the rail flagstop of Katula, where cattle were penned for shipment, was flooded and the switch line was moved one-half mile to Roscoe. Incorporation and the first city council meeting occurred in 1907. A year later, construction began on the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway, a fifty-mile line between Roscoe and Fluvanna. Serving as a bridge between the Santa Fe and Texas and Pacific railroads, the RS&P became one of the most profitable short lines in the nation. Passenger service was discontinued in 1953, but freight service continued into the late 1970s. The tracks were taken up in 1984. The Roscoe Times, a weekly, has been published since 1906; there was a short-lived Enterprise in 1893. Roscoe had a population of 1,166 and fifty businesses in 1940. The population was 1,581 in 1950, 1,490 in 1960, 1,580 in 1970, and 1,628 in 1980. In 1990 it was 1,446. The population was 1,378 in 2000.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. L. Yeats and Hooper Shelton, History of Nolan County (Sweetwater, Texas: Shelton, 1975).
William R. Hunt