115 miles W of Nacogdoches, 43 miles E of Waco, Mexia, Texas is named for a Mexican general, José Antonio Mexía, who joined an unsuccessful uprising against Santa Anna and died before a firing squad. A gas discovery in 1912 and an oil gusher in 1921 made it a boom town. From just 3,482 people the population exploded to an estimated 35,000 in 1922. It became so rowdy that martial law was imposed.
photograph from Mexia Blackcats 1959 (The Unofficial Blog of the Mexia [Texas] Graduating Class of 1959)
After the initial boom, the population decreased to a more manageable 10,000 by the mid-20s, but the onset of the Great Depression forced people to leave Mexia to find greener pastures. The population stabilized around 6,500 in the early 1930s, but the number of businesses reported fell by one third. A German Prisoner of War Camp was built in Mexia in 1942. The population was given as 6,618 in the early 1950s, not far from today's figure of just under 7,000. (History from TexasEscapes.com and The Roads of Texas)
Quite frankly, Mexia seemed pretty rundown. There was a fairly clear demarcation line separating what was left of the old downtown, and the virtual ghetto just a block away. I turned a couple of corners (on foot) I wasn't sure I should have taken.
And finally, I drove right past this lonely, little place as I pulled in to Mexia, and I just had to stop and take its picture as I left: