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Texas State Flag - Lone Star Legends IconTEXAS LEGENDS

Ghost Towns, Extinct Towns, & Company Camps

of Hutchinson County

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Over the years, Hutchinson County, Texas supported numerous towns, post offices, and school districts that were important to early settlers, and later, a number of company camps supporting the many folks involved in the Panhandle Oil Boom. Of most of these places, there is not a trace, of others, perhaps a few foundations, and yet more, marked only by a cemetery. There are a couple of ghost towns in the county; but, none that display the "typical appearance" of what we are accustomed to seeing in many old towns, such as an overgrown Main Street, lined with abandoned businesses and and side streets with lifeless falling homes.

Old Towns & Places:

 

Adobe Walls - Adobe Walls was the name given several trading posts and later a ranching community located seventeen miles northeast of Stinnett in Hutchinson County. The first trading post in the area was established in early 1843 by representatives of the trading firm of Bent, St. Vrain and Company, which hoped to trade with the Comanche and Kiowa tribes.

 

 

Hutchinson County, Texas Postal Map, 1907.

Hutchinson County Postal Map, 1907.

 

The site was the location of two Indian Battles known as the First and Second Battle of Adobe Walls. Nothing is left of the town today, but, monuments, historical markers, and the grave of famed buffalo hunter and Indian fighter William "Billy" Dixon. See entire article HERE.

 

Alhambra - Like other early "communities" in Hutchinson County, Alhambra was not an official town, but rather, a group of area residents taking its name from the local post office. Located in southeast Hutchinson County, the post office was established on May 29, 1901, with Silas M. Brown serving as the postmaster. Less than a year later, the position was assumed by Cambell S. Terry in April, 1902. The Terry family first lived in a half-dugout on Spring Creek, but farmed at a place that the Turkey Track cowboys called "Nubbin Ridge." Before long, the Terrys moved closer to their farm on "Nubbins Ridge" bringing the post office with them. Here, postmaster Campbell Terry also ran a small general store where he sold staples and would order other items such as equipment, boots, and household items for area residents. Pleasant and Sara Read Meadows donated land for the first school in the Alhambra Community, which became known as the White Deer Creek School District No. 3. The Alhambra community was known for its baseball team. The post office was discontinued on July 15, 1919, at which time area residents received their mail from Isom. Bessie M. Terry re-established the Alhambra post office on February 8, 1922 and it continued to operate until October 31, 1928, at which time the mail was received from Roxana, an oil camp in the northeast corner of Carson County.. In 1949, the White Deer Creek School was consolidated with The Spring Creek School.

 

Alpha/Parksdale - Located west of Pringle, this small community was centered around the Alpha School. The one room school was built by William Henry Parks and Bill Pike in 1905 and first called Parksdale. The school building was approximately 30x60 feet with a curtain in the middle for a partition. Some of its earliest teachers were Alma Mae Parks, Irene Shanks, Nona Beck, and Ona McCormick. The community of Parksdale  gained a post office on November 2, 1906 with John W. Mayfield serving as the first postmaster. On October 1, 1909, the post office name was changed to Alpha, and the name of the school followed. The post office closed on November 15, 1915, when the mail for the community was then received at Plemons. The Alpha School not only served area students, but also was used for church services and community events. In 1913, the school was attended by 27 children. By 1926, it had only 12. The Alpha School, along with the Lieb and Holt Schools were later consolidated to form the Pringle School.

 

 

 

Antelope - A small camp once located on the east edge of Antelope Creek Canyon. Children who lived here attended the Johnson Ranch School, which was l ocated about halfway between Sanford and Fritch on Antelope Creek.

 

Armstrong Camp - A small camp once located near Borger.

 

Barksdale - Located in Northwestern Hutchinson County, this settlement is listed on a 1907 postal map.

 

Bugbee - Some of the first settlers in Hutchinson County were free-range cattlemen, including Thomas S. Bugbee, who settled here in 1876. Bugbee started the Quarter Circle T Ranch with some 1,800 head of cattle. The Bugbees first lived in a dugout home before building a rock home north of the Canadian River about five miles west of the site of Adobe Walls.  Fearing the return of hostile Indians, they built the walls 25 inches thick and had two gun ports in every room. It was named Bugbee Fort. Thomas Bugbee's daughter, Ruby, was the first white child born in Hutchinson County. In 1881, the ranch and its 12,500 head of cattle sold for $350,000. Years later, a post office opened in the ranch headquarters in April, 1900 with Willis P. Hedgecoke serving as post master. That same year a part-time school was established and the settlement had a small general store. The post office closed on August 31, 1910 and the mail then went to Plemons.

Bunavista - Located just west of Borger in southern Hutchinson County, this community was established in 1942 to house employees of a federal government synthetic rubber plant. It was allegedly named after the "Buna S" process for manufacturing synthetic rubber. When World War II cut off the supply of natural rubber, the Phillips Petroleum Company supervised the construction and operation of this plant, which produced butadiene, an essential ingredient of synthetic rubber. A settlement grew up very quickly around the plant, though it never had its own post office, with mail coming from Borger instead. In 1955, Phillips bought the facility, which became its Copolymer Synthetic Rubber Plant. In 1960, the population of Bunavista was given at 2,067. But, over the next several years, many of the government houses were sold and removed. By 1970, the population had been reduced to 1,402 and in 1979, the town was officially  incorporated into the city of Borger.

 

Capps - A tiny community once located northwest of Pringle on the now-abandoned Texas Northwestern Railroad line.

 

Centerville/Womble - A school district located northwest of Pringle, a school was built here in the fall of 1907 by William Carson Womble on land he donated. After the Womble family moved to Stinnett, the name of the school was changed to Centerville. The enrollment was usually between 15 and 20 students and teacher salaries from 1912-1915 were $60 per month.

Coble Lease - An early Phillips Petroleum Company camp, it was once located on the W.T. Coble Ranch.

 

Combined Carbon Camp - A small United Carbon Company camp that was once located about two miles West of Sanford.

 

Continental Camp - This site was first the company camp of the Marland Oil Company, and later of the Continental Oil Company. It was located very near Borger.

 

Cosmos Camp - A small camp once located near Borger.

 

Devonian Camp - Named for the geologic period during which many oil reserves were formed, this small camp was once located near Borger.

 

Dial - Also known as "Gulf Dial", this small town was located on Farm Road 2277 southeast of Stinnett in central Hutchinson County. It was named for the Dial Ranch, where it was established in 1925. Here, the Gulf Oil Company drilled its Dial No. 1 well, the first in the county north of the Canadian River. By 1926 a sizable oil town, complete with a post office, was flourishing on the site. However, as highways improved, many of the "camps" declined including Dial. In the 1960's, the town was still called home to about 80 people. but the post office had been discontinued by the 1970's. Today, there are several producing oil wells in area and a few homes.

 

Electric City, TexasElectric City -  Established on the south bank of the Canadian River in south central Hutchinson County, this community got its start in July, 1926 with the construction of the Panhandle Power and Light Company's Riverview Power Plant, three miles north of Borger. Men worked day and night until the plant was completed, so that electricity could be made available to neighboring oilfields as soon as possible. The plant's turbines began turning in November. Soon a subsidiary camp grew around the facility as the county's oil boom gained momentum. Within weeks, plant employees and oilfield workers had formed a sizable settlement, complete with dirt streets. A post office was established on June 2, 1927 with Nadine Woody serving as the first postmaster. During the brief time it was open, three more postmasters followed. It was discontinued on January 31, 1929, at which time, the mail was received from Borger With the improvement of local highways and transportation, however, employees no longer found it necessary to live next to the plant. By 1948 Electric City's population numbered only five. The plant was owned by Southwestern Public Service by the mid-1980s. At that time there was no longer a population at the site, since the plant was an easy commute from Borger. Today, the power plant is owned by Xcel Energy.

 

Gewhitt - Located between Borger and Stinnett on the north side of the Canadian River, GeWhitt flourished from 1926 to 1928. The town was named for George Whittenburg, son of James A. Whittenburg, who managed the family's ranch properties. One of many small oil towns that sprang up on the heels of Borger's success, it gained a post office on May 26, 1927 with Lewis A. King as postmaster. The town quickly boomed to a population of 500 people and at one time, boasted a two-story hotel, filling stations, a dry goods store, four cafes and an oil company. However, its success was immediately rivaled by  two other nearby boomtowns, Oil City to the southwest and Signal Hill to the northeast. Within just a couple of years, most of its citizens began moving away, many to the booming town of Borger. In October 1942 the town officially ceased when its post office closed. The postmaster moved his family into Borger to find employment and later, the building that housed a gas station, grocery store, and the post office was torn down and sold for scrap lumber. A few people remained in the town for several years, but there is nothing left of it today. Gewhitt was located five miles south of Stinnett just off the west side of Highway 207.

 

Gibson-Whittenburg Camp - A small Phillips Petroleum Company camp once located north of Borger.

 

Gulf Camp - A small Gulf Oil Company camp once located South of Borger on Hwy 207.

 

 

Continued Next Page

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