MERIDIAN, TEXAS. Meridian, the county seat of Bosque County, is on the North Bosque River. Meridian, Texas is also on the Santa Fe rail line, and Meridian is on State highways 6, 22, 144, and 174. Meridian Texas is forty-seven miles northwest of Waco, Texas near the center of the county. Meridian, Texas was originated in 1854, as the county seat of Bosque County. The origin of the Meridian, Texas name is not clear. Jasper Mabray suggeated the name, which according to legend recognized Meridian Creek and Meridian Knobs, already named because of their proximity to the ninety-eighth meridian. the most likely explanation is that the commissioners believed their town lay near a meridian. In 1854 William McCurry built a one-room log courthouse, however, a series of buildings replaced it over the years. A tavern opened before the end of 1854. Postmaster The first Meridian, Texas post office ws established in 1856. A general variety store opened in Meridian in 1861. The Bosque Beacon, Meridian’s first newspaper, was published from 1866 to 1868, and Meridian has been served almost constantly by newspapers ever since. Meridian boomed during the 1880s. The Santa Fe line crossed Bosque County in 1881, passing 1½ miles east of Meridian. Before the advent of rail transportation, Meridian had been on a state route between Waco and Stephenville. The core of Meridian remained at the original site. In spite the inconvenience of the railroad’s location, Meridian prospered as a shipping center for surrounding farms. By 1888 Meridian had a business district organized around the town square. In 1886 Meridian citizens voted to establish their own school district; before then children had been educated by the county. Meridian College opened in 1909 and operated as a junior college from 1913 until 1927.
During the late 1920s Meridian experienced a decline, possibly started by a drought and later by the Great Depression. Meridian’s population dropped from 1,074 in 1920 to 759 in 1930. Afterward the number of residents climbed to 1,330 by 1980. Poultry processing was Meridian’s leading industry in 1954, and it lasted until the mid-1970s, when Ralston Purina purchased the plant and converted it to other uses. By 1978 Meridian the state’s lowest unemployment rate, with only 1.9 percent of the workforce jobless. Numerous Meridian residents were employed by businesses in surrounding towns and cities. During the 1980s Meridian’s economy centered on ranching and shipping agricultural products. Also hunting was important, as was publishing and the manufacture of clothing and refuse containers. Numerous prominent Texans have called the Meridian area home, including folklorist John Lomax, US senator Earle Mayfield, and state attorney general and Supreme Court judge Calvin Cureton. Meridian sponsors the Bosque Valley Arts and Crafts Festival each July and a street dance in October, as well as the annual “Top of the Hill Country” National Championship Barbecue Cook-Off and “Fair on the Square.” In 1990 the population of Meridian was 1,390. The population was 1,491 in 2000. Meridian’s population was 1,445 in 2014.