Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2006
To avoid confusion,
there are two Girvins.
One is a cluster
of buildings at the intersection of Hwy 67 and FM 11 and the other
is about one mile North on FM 11.
You can get
a beer at the first one, but if you see someone at the other one,
check to see if you can see their reflection in your car's mirror.
in Ghost Girvin
TE Photo September, 2000
Girvin is listed
in T.Lindsay Baker's Ghost Towns of Texas. According to this
excellent, but out-of-date book, Girvin was named after a ranch
that was there when the railroad came through in 1911. The post
office followed in 1912 and Girvin was officially named.
It prospered for about 20 years and then started its decline.
It served as
a shipping point for cattle and as a receiving point for
oil drilling supplies. Mr. Lindsay reports that the number of
students increased so fast that the new brick school was inadequate
even before it was finished and some classes had to be held in a
nearby lumber yard.
A new highway
(built just a mile away) and the Great Depression stopped
Girvin in its tracks.
TE photos September 2000
gas station in Girvin
TE photo September 2000
The "Old Town" Girvin (one mile north) has lost the combustible
parts of the only two story building to the arsonist's torch; a
reminder that even ghost towns aren't immune to change.
was on our route from McCamey
but we stopped not because of its ghost town status. We stopped because
it is also included in Counter
Culture Texas. (Click for our review.) Evidently we are not alone
in our appreciation for this book. We've noticed that in most bookstores,
the clerks have had the good sense to place the book with its cover
visible. Here is one book you can judge by its cover (but just this
Book Your Hotel Here & Save
TE photo August 2000
is the most poignant story (in our opinion) in this volume full
of characters, gentlepeople, places and food and how they all come
We pulled up as the sun was going down. The Girvin Social Club was
closed. We felt relieved, since there's nothing more to say that
isn't said in Susie Flatau's chapter.
Hour/Happy Hour in downtown Girvin
TE Photo September 2000
(Sept 12, 2000): We found ourselves passing Girvin less than a month
after our first visit and this time the parking lot of The Girvin
Social Club was full.
Book Your Hotel Here & Save
Dear TE, I just found your website and I was so happy to see that
you had a page on Girvin, Texas. My mother, Midred Helmers was postmaster
for Girvin for thirty three and ˝ years and she was the reason that
Girvin was moved from the old site on the railroad to where it is
now located on Hwy 67. She and my father, Arno Helmers moved Girvin
in 1956 when Hwy 67 was becoming the road to travel. They purchased
the old railroad depot in Girvin and moved it for our family to
live in and for the Girvin Store and Post Office. After what seemed
like a long time, the depot was moved and remodeled for our family
of Mildred, Arno, big brother Stanley, big sister, Janice, myself,
Arna and little brother, Johnny.
Growing up in Girvin was probably the best place in the world. We
met new people everyday and had our wonderful neighbors from the
ranches nearby, the Rio Pecos Power Plant, McCamey and Imperial.
If we saw great travelers, they came from Fort
Stockton (only 35 miles away) and my parents took in many weary
travelers that broke down on the road or who were just tired from
driving. The Girvin Social Club was my mom’s great love. She loved
to visit with everyone and to tell them about the wonderful town
of Girvin. When they moved to the highway, she leased the land from
the ranch owner for one dollar a year and had a fifty year lease.
Being from Girvin and always thinking of it as my home town, I again
want to say Thank You. My mom passed away seven years ago tomorrow
and this just brought up lots of fond memories of my childhood.
- Arna Helmers McCorkle, Fort Stockton, July 16, 2007
Went to see Girvin. It is slightly deteriorated since you were there.
- Barclay Gibson, October 08, 2006
I have just discovered your [magazine]. I began to read and soon
realized two hours had passed. What a great collection! I read your
[page on] Girvin, Texas. I spent one of the most memorable eveninngs
of my life in Girvin in about 1992. National Geographic magazine
had done an article on the Pecos river that included "New" Girvin
and the Girvin Social Club. The minute I saw the picture, I knew
I had to go. A couple of years went by, and I finally decided to
make the trip. The story of that evening is a long one, and I will
spare you that, but suffice it to say that I, along with a new aquaintance
named Ernest (a sheep rancher) and about a half dozen other nearby
residents had quite a time at the Social Club that evening.
What prompted me to write you was another story written by one of
your readers about Girvin that included a reference to the Helmers
Store. Several years after my evenings initiation to "The Club",
I returned once again with a woman I was dating at the time. She
loved the place as much as I had. We met a young man named Thomas
Helmers. He must have been about eight years old or so at the time
in about 1996 or 1997. The name didn't mean anything to me at the
time, but this young man has remained a part of my memories since
then. We talked with him for quite some time, and he was quite taken
with my girlfriend, Lisa. At one point, he stood and disappeared
into the back room of the Social Club. He returned with a basketball...obviously
new and quite precious to him. He signed his name in an eight year
olds scrawl requiring much brow knitting and tongue movement and
presented his treasure to Lisa. She beamed with gratitude and was
quite touched by this show of selflessness.
Long story short, Lisa's life was cut short by breast cancer at
age 31...only three years after we met Thomas. As I write you, I
am holding his basketball in my lap admiring his carefully wrought
signature. I have held onto it as a reminder of yet another very
special moment in Girvin, Texas. Thank you, Thomas. Your generosity
brightened her life and she always spoke of you. It has given me
something wonderful to hold onto. I hope we meet again one day,
so that I can thank you in person. Best regards, Houston Legg,
July 31, 2006
I was reading
the article on Girvin, TX. I grew up in McCamey
and my dad worked at the Rio Pecos power plant which was owned by
West Texas Utilities Co. When I graduated high school in 1970 I
too started working at the plant. Part of my job was to go to Girvin
each day to Helmer’s store (next to the Girvin Social Club in the
pictures), and get the mail. At that time it was the gas station,
grocery store and post office. The social club was then a café.
I ate lots of hamburgers and chili there for lunch. I understand
now that the power plant has been shut down. As the years go by
it seems that another part of my life disappears. Thank you for
helping keep those memories alive. - Gary Staggs, Little Rock,
Arkansas, August 23, 2005
I'm a displaced
Texan, living in CA with the military. I was so happy to see all
the pictures you have of the small West Texas towns that my family
originally hails from.
Glad to see you are attempting to keep history alive. I was especially
happy to see the section on Girvin...my family still owns property
The picture that you have on the last page of the Girvin section
used to be a gas station. My grandfather, "Red" Nutter, was born
in the upper portion, where his parents were living at the time.
I have enjoyed looking through all your pictures. You have an EXCELLENT
site! Keep up the good work. - Katherine Mckinley, CA/USA, 16/Jun/2002