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

Electric City Texas

Electric 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.

Canadian river in Hutchinson County, Texas by the National Park Service.

Canadian river in Hutchinson County, Texas by the National Park Service.

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.

Hutchinson County is dotted with still active oil pumps, even though many of its old towns and all of the old company camps are long gone, by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

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

Holt – See Jeffrey

Horace – A postal stop in west central Hutchinson County, Sylvester McWhorter served as the first postmaster when it opened on January 3, 1903. It was discontinued in February 1909 and the mail was then sent to Plemons.

Huber Camp – Also known as Marlin Camp, this site was located southeast of Borger.

Huber Premier Camp – A small J. M. Huber Co. camp once located West of Bunavista.

Ideal – A one-time postal stop in Northwestern Hutchinson County which is shown on the 1907 postal map. The first postmaster was Bessie Craig when the post office opened on April 8, 1902. She was followed by Eden Sumner and Leander O. Boney. The post office closed in February 1907, at which time the mail was received from Sherman County.

IngertonSee Oil City.

Isom TX

Isom – Located in south-central Hutchinson County, this community was founded in 1898 by rancher John F. Weatherly, who built a dugout on the site for his family. He first called the site Granada and before long, other settlers began to move into the area. On June 30, 1900, a post office was established with Lutie S. Ford serving as the first postmaster. John F. Weatherly opened the town’s first store in the basement of his stone ranch house. Postmaster Ford was followed by Effie Whiteside in 1901, Maggie Cannon in 1904, and Maggie Weatherly in June 1905. About a year after holding the position of postmaster, Maggie Weatherly changed the name of the town from Granada to Isom on July 7, 1906. She named it for a now-defunct town in her home state of West Virginia. A school was established in 1907, and Maggie Weatherly opened a cafe. Maggie Weatherly continued to hold the position of postmaster until March 1916, when it was taken over by Marion E. Cox. The post office remained in operation until October 1919, when the mail was directed to Plemons.

Weatherly Dugout Home Replica in Borger, Texas by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Weatherly Dugout Home Replica in Borger, Texas by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Three years later, the Weatherlys moved to the town of Panhandle in 1922, but, they retained ownership of the townsite of Isom. In May 1926, after the oil boom resulted in the founding of Borger, Weatherly’s interest in the town he founded was renewed. He soon moved the townsite to the Santa Fe Railroad’s oilfield branch line near Borger. First Street marked the dividing line; all lots south of the street were in Isom. From June to December 1926, Borger and Isom were rivals, each fighting for the coveted role of capital of the county’s oilfields. Although the town had a railroad depot, several oil-well supply warehouses and no shortage of would-be citizens, 1,200 residents signed a petition in early December, to merge Isom with Borger. In 1927, the consolidation of the Isom school with that of Borger made the merger complete, driving the last stake into Isom.

A replica of the original Weatherly dug-out home now sits on the edge of the campus of Frank Phillips College.

Jeffry/Holt – Located in northeast Hutchinson County, the area began to be populated when Texas enacted colonization and Homestead Laws in the late 1890s. A post office called “Jeffry” was established on March 25, 1902, with John M. Archer serving as the first postmaster. In 1903, early county settlers Benjamin and Birda May Kirk Holt donated seven acres to be used as the site of a community schoolhouse and cemetery. Five acres were set aside for school purposes and 2 acres for the cemetery. The first schoolhouse, a one-room structure, was built in 1906 and called the Holt School. Several years later, in 1916, the one-room building was replaced with a two-room schoolhouse built of lumber and materials hauled in from Texhoma, Oklahoma This school reported 57 students around 1916-18 but, only seven in 1928. The Jeffry post office was discontinued on August 31, 1918,  and the mail was then sent to Adobe Walls.

The school building, which still stands today, is a simple wood structure with classical revival style details, oversized windows, and decorative wood shingles. Regular school classes were held here until 1935 when students began attending school in Spearman. The building remained a gathering place for area families serving as a church for services, weddings, and funerals, and as a Community Center for local events. The school and grounds were deeded to the Holt Cemetery Association in 1949. The cemetery, which continues to serve the local community, contains the gravesites of many of this area’s first settlers and those of veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean Conflict. Both the school and the cemetery were recorded as Texas Historic Landmarks in 1989.

Johnson Camp – A small camp once located on Antelope Creek between Sanford and Fritch. Children were taught at the Johnson Ranch School. The first teacher was Anna Schowe Wilson. There were six children attending the school in 1925.

1 thought on “Hutchinson County, Texas Ghost Towns, Extinct Towns, & Company Camps”

  1. I was in the Armstrong School one time(1963). The school had one of the best basketball gyms in the County. The school had to shut down and the children were bused to Dumas, Moore County, TX.

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