Pilot Point, Denton County, Texas
Pilot Point is located in Denton County, and for over 150 years has been a special place in the gently rolling hills of North Central Texas.
From its founding it was a place that seemed restful and relaxing to people as they traveled through the area. As early as 1845, two years before Denton County was organized, settlers began making their homes near the "Pilotís Point," situated on the edge of the Cross Timbers Section of Texas. These settlers had migrated from Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri to establish themselves on either the rich, endless black land prairies of the east, or the expanses of sandy wooded land to the west. The highest point of land in the area was a small hill on which the city square came to be located. Oak trees covered much of the hill. Standing tall above the oaks was a magnificent cottonwood tree that could be seen from a great distance. This high, wooded point of land was a landmark for the Indians and later for rangers, scouts, and other travelers, guiding them across the sprawling trackless land. The landmark became known as Pilotís Point. Gradually the name was changed to Pilot Point. A short distance to the north was Dripping Springs, which provided excellent water and a pleasant campground.
Pilot Point was on the route of the Butterfield Stage, which brought the mail. In 1872, John Merchant erected on the northeast corner of the square, the first brick building in Denton County. The building was made of brick made locally. In 1877 the first telegraph lines came through. It ran from Sherman west through Pilot Point along "Wire Road," now known as FM 1192. The telegraph line extended to a government post at Jacksboro. The townís first newspaper, The Post, appeared in 1878, and through several consolidations over the years it became The Post-Signal that still covers the news of Pilot Point and surrounding areas.
In the autumn of 1880 the first train rolled through Pilot Point over the newly constructed line of the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Under a lease arrangement the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railway ran over the same track. This gave Pilot Point excellent passenger and freight service for many years. A cotton gin was built by Henry Selz and J.P. Cooper and it was the largest gin in the United States at the time. The first bank in town opened in 1884,and eight years later became the Pilot Point National Bank.
By the time the Fritscher family arrived in 1892, Pilot Point was a busy little community with a thriving agricultural base and many small family businesses that made life comfortable. The Fritschers built farms on the rich land, and settled in the welcoming German Catholic parish. The early years of the 1900ís found Pilot Point humming with activity as a marketing center for farmers and stock raisers who experienced good as well as bad years. By the 1920ís Pilot Point had fifty businesses, three banks, nine churches, a free public school system, a hotel, two federated womenís clubs, and several fraternal organizations.