Hutchinson County, Texas Ghost Towns, Extinct Towns, & Company Camps

Hutchinson County, Texas Postal Map 1948.

Hutchinson County, Texas Postal Map 1948.

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 side streets with lifeless falling homes.

Old Towns & Places:

Adobe Walls, Texas

Adobe Walls, Texas

Adobe Walls – Adobe Walls was the name given several trading posts and later a ranching community located 17 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. 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 the 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.

Hutchinson County, Texas Oil Production by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Hutchinson County, Texas Oil Production by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

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 30×60 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 located 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 postmaster. 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.

Carbon Black Plant in Bunavista, Texas by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Carbon Black Plant in Bunavista, Texas by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

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. 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, Texas Area by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Dial, Texas Area by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

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 1960s, the town was still called home to about 80 people. but the post office had been discontinued by the 1970s. Today, there are several producing oil wells in the area and a few homes.

 

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