Mentone, TX


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Mentone is an unincorporated area in Loving County, Texas, the least populous county in the United States. As the county's only community, it serves as the county seat and has a 2010 population of 19, almost a fourth of the county's 82 people. It is the least populated county seat in the United States. Designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1967 as the "Smallest County Seat in Texas", Marker number 9461.
Mentone is located at 31°42′18″N 103°35′53″W / 31.705°N 103.598°W / 31.705; -103.598. Its elevation is 2,684 feet (818 m). It is situated on State Highway 302, seventy-five miles west of Odessa.
Named after Menton, France by a French surveyor, present-day Mentone is actually the second such named community in Loving County; an earlier Mentone was founded south of the current town in 1893, but was abandoned in 1905. A second town on that site was called Juanita and then Porterville, but was deserted anew when Mentone was reestablished in 1931, with most residents moving to the new town. The town on the current site was named Ramsey before being renamed. During its heyday, Mentone boasted five cafes, five gas stations, two hotels, two drugstores, two recreation halls, two barbershops, a dance hall, a machine shop and a dry cleaner. It also had its own newspaper, the Mentone Monitor, which published from 1932 to 1935. After reaching a high-population mark of approximately 600 residents in the 1930s, the population has declined ever since, and in 2000 there were only 15 people, "more or less," according to National Geographic magazine (the total population of Loving County itself (as of 2010) is 82.)