About 3 ½ miles from the present day town of
Corinth, in Denton County, Texas ,
once stood the small village of Alton, which, for a decade, served as the
Denton County seat. When Denton County was formed in 1846, the first
pioneers chose a place along Pecan Creek for the first county seat and
named it Pinckneyville, in honor of Texas '
first governor, James Pinckney Henderson.
But, Pinckneyville would hold the title only
two years and never develop into a town. Water shortages forced the county
seat to move to a new site in June, 1848. Located less than a mile from
present day Corinth, on a high ridge between Pecan Creek and Hickory
Creek, the new townsite was called Alton.
Though Commissioners were appointed and directed to lay
out a town and sell lots, there are no records that this was ever done and no
public buildings were ever erected. In fact, the only residence that existed was
that of a man named W.C. Baines, who established a farmstead long before the
designation of the new county seat.
County business was held at the Baines’ residence,
most of the time, under the shade trees in his yard. The location of the second
county seat also proved to be unfavorable due to a lack of potable water and the
state legislature soon directed that the site be moved again.
The third county seat location was designated in
November, 1850, about five miles southwest of present day Corinth on Hickory
Creek. The new site retained the name of Alton and submitted an application for
a post office. This location did grow and before long it boasted a hotel and two
By 1856, the small town boasted a number of homes, a
blacksmith shop, three stores, a school, saloon, hotel, two doctors, and several
lawyers. The Hickory Creek Baptist Church, which continues to stand, was
organized in 1855.
Though the fledgling town had begun to grow, the
location of the county seat was still unsatisfactory for the majority of Denton
County residents, who soon petitioned for yet, another county seat – one that
was more centrally located and again, one with better water. Put to a vote in
November, 1856, the county seat was moved again to Denton. Lots for the townsite
began to be auctioned in January, 1857.
In the meantime, Alton began to die as many of its
businesses moved to the new county seat. In May, 1859, its post office doors
There is little remaining of the old townsite today,
with the exception of the Hickory Creek Baptist Church and the old Alton
Cemetery, which contains graves that date back to 1852. The
church is located at 5724 Teasley Lane ( F.M.
Road 2181) ,
Denton, Texas .
Next to the church is the cemetery.
later, in 1884, long after Alton had died,
an iron through-truss bridge
built over Hickory Creek on Copper
Canyon Road, south of the old townsite. Built by the King Bridge Company of
Cleveland, Ohio, the 145 foot long bridge would serve area travelers for more
than a century. Called the Old Alton Bridge, sometimes the Argyle bridge,
is better known amongst the locals as "Goatman's Bridge,” it was first built to
carry horses, but would later carry vehicles across the creek.
It continued to be used until about 2001 when it was
replaced with a concrete-and-steel bridge and a new road, which straightened out
a sharp curve. Before the new bridge was built, motorists were required to honk
their horns on the one lane bridge to let other travelers know they were coming.
The bridge was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in July, 1988 and closed to vehicle traffic in
2001. It is open only to pedestrians today.