The Macaroni Line


Carter Johnston for The New York Times.

This article is about how a small Texas town near me survived losing its Walmart store. I like it for its local history and photographs. Edna is “a community of about 5,700 people surrounded by rice fields, ranches and grassland.” It’s 28 miles from Victoria north on Highway 59.

A downtown theater glows with rainbow lights, and the tower on top of the building spells out the city’s name high above a ticket booth covered in cobwebs. The theater has not shown movies regularly for years, though its new owner has told residents that he plans to start screenings soon.


“It was like getting hit by a bomb,” Joe Hermes, a former mayor of Edna, said of learning Walmart was leaving. Credit…Carter Johnston for The New York Times.

The town was founded in 1882 and named after the daughter of an Italian count, who came to Texas to build a railroad stretching from Mexico to New York. Two nearby towns are named after the count’s other daughters, Inez and Louise.


Edna is roughly 100 miles from Houston. Credit…Carter Johnston for The New York Times.

The count imported hundreds of Italian laborers and fed them, according to a history of Jackson County, largely with macaroni. The railroad was nicknamed the Macaroni line. But the count left the railroad after laying only about 90 miles of track.


Landing at the Jackson County Airport in Edna. Credit…Carter Johnston for The New York Times.


Sales tax revenue has dipped only slightly since Walmart left. Credit…Carter Johnston for The New York Times.

(Michael Corkery, “The Town That Lost Its Walmart,” NYTimes, 12-24-19)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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