Sunset Volunteer Fire Department

Sunset, Texas | C.1884

Photo Credit: James Needham

With no municipal government, the residents of Sunset, Texas have the freedom to practically run their land as they wish – but that wasn’t always the case.

Back in 1870 settlers made their way here by stagecoach. A man by the name of Sam Smith opened up a general store and applied to creatively name the burgeoning community “Smithville.” Unfortunately for Sam, a nearby town had their application for that name granted first. According to historical notes, the name of “Sunset” was then “suggested and accepted.”

A decade later residents voted to incorporate—it just didn’t last that long. So over the past century, the sleepy community has fluctuated in population — peaking at around 600 residents — living that unincorporated lifestyle.

Thus, Sunset’s Fire Department runs on a volunteer basis, and is funded by raffles and cookout fundraisers instead of the local taxes that incorporated communities rely on. By the looks of it, the department has not been called upon for some time now, which we hope is a good thing.

Sparsely populated, the people of Sunset work together to run the area they call home in lieu of elected officials. Local guidelines merely need to be “suggested and accepted”.

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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