Former sawmill town has seen little change

One of the oldest communities in Montgomery County is situated on the outskirts of the cities of Oak Ridge North and Shenandoah, on the east side of the rail road tracks and seemingly a world away from the up-tempo corporate culture of The Woodlands.

Founded sometime between 1871, when the Houston and Great Northern Railroad line was built through Montgomery County, and 1897, when the community received its first post office, Tamina has seen successes and struggles over its century-and-a-half existence.

According to historical reports from the Montgomery County Heritage Museum, Tamina received its name when community promoter James H. Berry decided to name the town after Tammany Hall in New York.

"Apparently, the letter writer submitting the name to the postal department had his own ideas about the spelling," one historical report states. "Thus, Tamina was born."

The population of Tamina fluctuated between about 130 and 100 between 1904 and 1915. Like much of Montgomery County, the land that was home to the small community was heavily forested, and in 1917 the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Company purchased about 3,000 acres of land, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

Those 3,000 acres included what today is Tamina, as well as most of The Woodlands. The Tamina mill operated for a decade, when its closing caused Tamina's population to drop to about 50, according to the TSHA. Throughout the next 20 years, Tamina saw little to no growth, and by 1948, the community included just 12 homes, a few businesses, a church and two schools, which only taught grades one through seven.

Shirley Grimes, executive director of the Tamina Community Center, said one of the first schools that served Tamina was located on the site of the Chase Bank building in The Woodlands at Woodlands Parkway and Woodloch Forest Drive.

She said the community did not receive water utility service until 1971. Until that time, Tamina's residents only had access to well water, Grimes said.

"It was just a rural area," she said. "They didn't have any lights. The only lights they had was when a resident had pole lights, and there were only dirt roads."

Despite the population explosion in the rest of the county over the years, Tamina has seen its population remain low.

"There were more people in the community when I moved in," Grimes said. "I have seen the population decrease. I think it's more or less because of economic situation. They have moved to apartments, some moved out of town. A majority of our residents here are senior citizens."

Grimes, who has lived in Tamina for the past 40 years, said the community has always been a close-knit town, led by its churches, volunteers and families.

"This community does rely on each other," she said. "In this community, all of the people know each other, and they know each other's kids."

Today, Tamina still resembles the way it has been for the past several decades. The town features few businesses, several churches and a strong sense of community.


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