stadium is in pretty bad shape and snakes are a serious concern."
- Carla Foft,
by Lanelle Crumley
August 5, 2007
was a day of celebration for the Baptist Church at Doole, Texas. The
church served a catered lunch to mark their 95th anniversary.
The early settlers of this small community wanted to name their town
in honor of a prominent family in the area (The Gansel Family), therefore
this farming and ranching community was originally known as Gansel,
Texas. Residents decided to establish a post office in approximately
1911 and ask the postmaster at Brady,
Texas for advice. The postal service in Washington D.C. said that
the name Gansel was unacceptable, so the settlers named their post
office and town after David Doole, Jr., the postmaster at Brady.
My Grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. S. C. Crumley, Sr. (“Lum” & Alta) bought
several acres of land approximately 7 miles S/E of Doole in 1909.
Mrs. Crumley gave birth to 13 healthy children. My Dad was one of
the thirteen. This large family grew cotton, corn, sugar cane and
various other crops. They also raised cattle, hogs and chickens.
My Mother was a young school teacher from Rochelle,
Texas. She taught at East Gansel School in 1932 and 1933. The
school was located approximately 4 ½ miles S/E of Doole. The CRUMLEY
brothers and sisters walked 1 ½ miles to school at East Gansel every
day except on days when their parents needed help in the fields. After
my Mother finished the school year in May of 1933, she married one
of the Crumley brothers (my Dad- age 21). They married in Millersview,
Texas (west of Doole).
East Gansel School closed in 1936. All of the students were transferred
to Doole along with the students from Stacy, Texas.
I was a student at Doole Elementary School in the 1940’s. Students
were transferred to Melvin,
Texas after completing the 6th grade at Doole. The year was 1949
and the community was far from being a “ghost town”.
I have fond memories of Ruby Page Allen, postmaster, at Doole Post
Office. She was in charge of the post office for many years. Her husband,
George Allen, was my favorite school bus driver. Another favorite
was Fred Betsill. He owned and operated Betsill Grocery Store from
1932 to 1988. The abandoned building at the top of this web page was
once operated by Oscar Betsill. Another name that will be long remembered
is Molly Meyers. She owned and operated a small store and café. The
café was a favorite with the local farmers and ranchers. Others living
in Doole: The Vineyard Family, Hap Betsill, Mr. Gray (the garage man),
The Wiggington Family and many others.
Farming and ranching was the occupation of choice for the majority
of Doole, East Gansel and Stacy, Texas residents. Life was good until
a drought hit during the late 1950’s. Can you imagine - no measurable
amount of rain for 7 years? Most of the farmers moved to other locations.
Many were forced to find new occupations in order to survive. This
is the primary reason Doole, Texas became a “ghost town”.
A treasured way of life was lost in the 1950’s and early 1960’s and
a large portion of McCulloch County is now used for hunting only.
- Lanelle Crumley, September 3, 2007
5th and 6th grade class, 1946 - 1947
Photo courtesy LanelleCrumley
the first (and maybe the second) grade class at Doole in 1941. We
are standing on the steps of the brick school building that was for
the high school kids. Lower grades were in a two room, wooden building
near the rock fence to the West. My aunt, Dorothy Watkins Davis taught
the third and fourth grades. and Mrs Bitters taught the first and
second grades." - John
Davis, June 29, 2015
Photo courtesy Lanelle Crumley
are reminded of Groucho Marx's response when a woman asked
him to hold her tight (while he was already holding her). "If I hold
you any tighter, I'll be behind you." If Doole were any closer to
the Concho County line, it would be in Concho County. It's
interesting to note that many ghost towns are just over (or just this
side of) a county line. The legislation demanding county seats be
centrally located killed the economy of these towns, just as surely
as if they were by-passed by the railroad.
Gansel was what Doole was originally called, but that was denied
by Washington when they requested a Post Office by that name. Brady's
Postmaster David Doole had been advising them, so they requested
one in his name and it was granted.
Doole's former high school stadium/baseball field had concrete bleachers
and was built on a hill. This gives it the appearance (if one has
a good imagination) of a Mayan ball court or a Roman amphitheater.
If you're on an unhurried trip, then a short drive to Paint
Rock would be in order. Doole still holds it's own ZIP code (tightly).
the High School Stadium. Come early or you'll be sitting on Cactus
TE photo, 2001
houses offer some good photo opportunities. Porch swings, cactus and
clothesline poles. The High School Stadium with its native stone walls
and cement bleachers are just west of "downtown." Rubble from somewhere
has been pushed over into the southern part of the stadium.
Recent rains have deposited a sea of mud that looks like a solidified
lava flow at Pompei. A 1957 Plymouth with its trunk open has been
left in what might have been the parking lot. The weathered houses
and the unique stadium/amphitheater make Doole a memorable ghost town.
with cactus in Doole
TE photo, 2001
office is still in excellent condition."
Photo courtesy Carla
A little history of Doole, Texas
I certainly enjoyed reading the comments by Briggs Browning, Lanelle
Crumley, and others.
My name is John D Davis. I was born in Doole on, December 16,1934.
Dr Land from Lohn,
Texas came to attend to my Mother Esther Reed Davis and I. My
dad John D Davis sr died of the flu in 1935. My Mother Esther Reed
Davis, my Sister Marywil and I lived in Doole until 1949.
I remember the Red & White Grocery Store on the hill a little North
of the intersection of highways 765 and 22. (They were paved and
not numbered roads when I lived there) The store was operated by
a nice man by the name of Russian Wells. My friend Joe Bob Snodgrass
lived with his family near the Red & White store. Mr. Ryan had a
mechanics shop next to the store.
Going further North, near the turn off to go to the school was where
one of my friends, Jerry Mac Betsill lived with his folks. This
is where the stadium is and where I enjoyed playing softball with
my friend Rex Reynolds and others. My Uncle Bee A Davis managed
the men's softball team. He and my Aunt Dorothy had a son named
As I remember, you went further North you would come to Porters
Cafe and Filling Station on the West side of the road. Mrs Porter
made hamburgers and the best pies.
On the other side of the road was Grays Machine shop. Mr Gray, his
son Jacky and daughter Regina lived in a house next door to the
shop. An Indian man known to me as Chief was always at the machine
Later a cafe operated by Mollie Meyers opened down the way. The
food was very good, you could also get some grocerys and there was
a butcher shop.
Next door was the post office operated by Ruby Page, She had a daughter
named Anita, and a son Bobby Lynn. Across the street was a grocery
operated by Mr and Mrs Powers. They had a daughter named Joyce.
She was my first girlfriend. Another service station was on this
side of the street, but I can't remember who operated that service.
Behind the service station to the East was my cousins house. Pet
Reed, his wife and family, Bill, Joe Dale and Bobby (memory is failing)
lived there. Very near Pet's house was my Aunt Mollie and Uncle
George Vineyard's house. They had four older children Estelle, John
Bill, GM and Wyrie.
As you proceded further North on the East side of the road was the
Powers house. There was a turn off road going to Charlie Mexican's
farm. (Sorry I didn't know his last name, but that is the way he
was known.) His farm bordered ours, and we visited regulary. I only
remember one of his children's name. She was a very nice girl named
Across the street was an open lot where the tent movies would show
Gene Autry and Tarsan movies. Some times a roller skate rink would
come to town, and there were several medicine shows with magicians
Next to that was the barber shop, and my friend Richard Conkright's
(spelling) house. Richard's dad operated the Doole telephone service.
Next to that and still standing is the Baptist church. I listened
to many a sermon there, but it may not have done much good (haha).
Further North of the same side of the street was the Methodist church.
Then you were pretty much on your way to Stacy and the Colorado
One thing of interest might be the time I went with the men's club
of the Baptist church went to tear down the hotel at Stacy. It only
took a few hours and the wood was recycled to make changes to the
Baptist church in Doole.
Names that come to mind: Janell, Maurine and J.W. Vineyard, my cousins.
J.A. Martin, W.D. Martin, Windell (Bogger Red) Martin. Hazel Brown,
Verba Crumly, A.M. Coalson, his Dad Alf Coalson, Wes Coalson, Bobbie
Coalson. Just a few of my friends from long ago. - John Davis,
Henderson NV., June 17, 2015
My name is Lanelle
Crumley. I was born near Doole, Texas in 1936. I truly enjoyed reading
a recent article by John Davis of Henderson, Nevada. I’m hoping
that my suggesting a few minor corrections would not hurt his feelings.
Paragraph 3. of the John Davis wonderful article talks about Mr.
Ryan. I just thought about mentioning Mr. & Mrs. Ryan’s son. His
sons name was Ronnie and I assume he was born in 1936 because he
was in my first grade class which was taught by Mrs. Bitters.
Paragraph 9: The farm that was worked by a very nice Mexican man
named Charlie probably had a last name of Lopez. They had several
children. One was named Concho and I know for a fact that her last
name was Lopez. She was one grade ahead of me in school and I remember
Paragraph12: My parents had a firm rule in the 1940’ and 1950’s.
The rule was; go to the Baptist Church 3 times per week.
John mentioned something about a Methodist church down the road.
There was no Methodist Church - it was Church of Christ.
Paragraph 14: Names that come to mind: No Hazel Brown. Her name
was Hazel Browning – sister to Briggs Browning.
No Verba Crumly - She is my cousin and her name is Verba Crumley.
I hope you do not think I have been too critical because I absolutely
loved John’s article. He has a wealth of important historical information.
I will always love Doole, Texas and have very fond memories of growing
up there. - Sincerely yours, Lanelle Crumley, March 01, 2016
In 2011 my boyfriend and I took a Labor Day road trip to several
of the Ghost Towns listed
on this web site. I was looking for some inspiration for a sequel
to my book and my boyfriend was just looking for an opportunity
to leave town.
to several sites around Brady,
TX and had a great time. The best site we went to was at Doole.
The stadium is, unfortunately, continuing to fall into ruin
at an alarming rate. So anyone interested should plan to see it
in the next few years. The rock retaining wall is still very much
intact in most places and extremely fascinating. Both Jim and I
were intrigued by the amount of time and effort it must have taken
to build all of the structures associated with the stadium. The
ticket office is still in excellent condition and I have included
a picture of me leaning out of one of
the windows. There was very little of the seating area still
discernable and snakes are now a big concern. So when you go, wear
some sturdy leather boots with non-slip soles and strong denim jeans.
Definitely no shorts, Capri pants or sandals.
The cemetery was interesting as well. The site was on my
Tom-Tom GPS and it was well worth finding and visiting. - Carla
Foft of Midland,
TX, September 28, 2011
The picture you have shown of a house with cactus in front was my
grandmother’s home Willie Daniels. She and my uncle Sam Daniels
lived there until the 70’s. - Lessie Sunvison Koester, June 03,
My grandmother lived in the center of Doole in the 50's - 70's.
Prior she lived off a county road between Doole and Stacy. I remember
the store located not at the 4 way stop but further north past the
school and next to the Post Office. Molly Meyer owned and operated
the store. At that time there were 3 grocery stores, post office,
Doole Baptist Church, gin, and the unused school. There were skating
parties in the high school gym. My grandmother and uncle are buried
in the cemetery in Stacy, Texas north of Doole about 6 miles. -
Lessie Sunvison Koester, November 22, 2005
I have hunted for several years about 5 miles from Doole and really
haven't paid much attention as I stopped at the blinking 4-way light
on my way to eat catfish in Brady.
Since I read your article I am paying more attention to detail and
have stopped to see the sights referenced.
I agree with another visitor, this land is some of the harshest
in Texas. Every plant, bush, vine, tree or living thing can and
will hurt you if you don't pay attention. That being said, the rugged
beauty of the country is mesmerizing and I keep coming back for
more. There is a small grocery store at the crossroads called "Mavericks"
and as far as I know it represents the only commercial activity
between Valera and Brady.
Unfortunately, the store keeps somewhat sporadic hours and one never
knows if it will be open.
The deer, turkey, quail and dove hunting is some of the best I have
ever experienced anywhere. If you can avoid being bitten, stung,
scratched or stuck by the bugs, critters and scrub you can enjoy
yourself. Oh yeah, there are days in Doole country where the wind
blows through at incredible velocity creating dust storms and resituating
anything not tied down. Could be that's how the 57 plymouth came
to be where it is!
I was fascinated by the story about the black panther. While I haven't
seen a black panther myself in the area, I did see what I believed
was a mountain lion or wildcat last year where I hunt. The coloring
(solid blond) and size suggested the animal was not a bob cat and
it was way to large to be a feral cat. I elected to believe it was
something other than a wild cat because there are just too many
undisturbed rabbits and other small game animals in the area. -
David Williams, November 2, 2005
My family has
owned 3 sections of land a mile from [Doole] forever. When I was
a kid I saw a black panther on our properly. Then about 10 years
ago I saw another one. The land there is very harsh. It seems the
only things that grow there are cactus and mesquite trees. In the
spring watch out for rattlesnakes!!! They are everywhere!!! There
is something mystical about that land though, for as rough as it
is, there is beauty in the roughness. It is the best hunting of
all of my family's property. And for as long as I can remember one
man has leased it for grazing from us.
It saddens me to think that with land, some people only see $ signs
and not the inherent beauty of the unforgiving landscape." - Bill
Davison, January 15, 2005
I went to
Doole on Saturday, July 28. Just wanted to let you know that the
general store is boarded up. I visited the bleachers and was welcomed
with shots from a rifle. No, I don't think they were shooting at
me, but they sure didn't stop! Everytime I walked away from my car,
the shots were more frequent and when I stepped back inside, I could
hear the rifle being reloaded. Wild! Needless to say, I left there
rather quickly! - Lisa, July 29, 2001
Within 60 miles are:
Brownwood, to the
to the South
See Texas Hill Country
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact