Carmine is on U.S. Highway 290 at the Fayette-Washington county line. Dr. B. J. Thigpen and his family moved to the townsite on Christmas Day, 1885. Thigpen had been promised the position of station agent on Texas and New Orleans Railroad if he would promote the town. When the post office was established in 1892 the original name, Sylvan was changed to Carmine in honor of Newton Carmean, the first postmaster. The town grew through active promotion. By 1900 it had four general stores, four saloons, two blacksmith shops, a newspaper named the New Century, several churches, and ten other businesses. Both the railroad and the highway provided direct links between Houston and Austin.
In 1950 Carmine had twenty-four businesses and a population of 650. Students attended the consolidated school of Carmine-Round Top. During the 1960s, however, cotton gins closed and farmland reverted to pasture. U.S. 290 was straightened between 1958 and 1964 and bypassed the town. The railroad line was closed, and the track was removed between 1980 and 1985. By 1985 the town had twenty-five businesses and a population of 239. In 1990 the population was 192, and in 2000 it was 228.
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