is located about 3 /10 mile south of Hwy 67 on FM 1657. Here you'll see a derrick
and the well-preserved remains of Santa Rita #1, the well that brought
in the huge Big Lake Oilfield. Historical marker
There are two "ghost towns" in Reagan County. Texon
has the greater population. The other is Stiles,
with only the ruins of the torched former courthouse (Christmas Eve 1999).
Texon was a planned community that at one time had a population of over 1000.
The Big Lake Oil Company was sole owner of the property. Sidewalks, street signs
and mailboxes with two or three wooden structures are all that remain. Two homes
appear to be occupied and strangely enough, as if anticipating a rebirth, the
street signs are new reflective ones, in some cases standing alongside the old
wooden ones that they're replacing. The postal service has also installed a new
mailbox looking out of place among the five-foot tall weeds.
obvious that there is recent activity with the wells. Hoses and wires follow the
grid of the former yards where deer and jackrabbits now graze undisturbed and
unfrightened by visitors. The abundance of these creatures along with roadrunners,
makes Texon a good spot for observing wildlife. Texon is one of the featured ghost
towns in T. Lindsay Baker's Ghost Towns of Texas.
of Texon Historical Marker
house in the old residential area|
"The front half of the building was
the Post Office."
TE photo, September 2000
Marker Text |
of TexonEarly travelers
along many historic trails in this area found the region arid and inhospitable.
Given (1876) to the University of Texas, the lands around this marker were leased
to cattlemen. The Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railroad built its line here in
1911, but did little local hauling. Development came after Frank Pickrell and
Haymon Krupp of Texon Oil and Land Company drilled for oil. Their driller, Carl
Cromwell, brought in Santa Rita No. 1, the first gusher in the Permian Basin,
on May 28, 1923.
Texon, first company town in the Permian Basin, was founded
in 1924 by Big Lake Oil Company. Levi Smith, president of the firm, planned and
supervised building of the town, and Ted Williams served as city manager for the
company. Texon had stores, shops, a school, a physician, a dentist, a hospital,
a theater, a park, a well-known baseball team, and many facilities for recreation.
The post office opened in 1926. As many as 2,000 people lived here -- boosters
claimed up to 10,000 -- manning the drilling, a gasoline plant, an oil treating
plant, and other operations. Plymouth Oil Company absorbed Big Lake Oil Company,
then sold out to Marathon Oil Company. The company town was closed in 1962.
TE photo, September 2000
Marker Text |
Rita No. 1
well for Big Lake oil field. First gusher in Permian Basin; first University of
Texas producer. On land once thought almost worthless. Fruit of the faith of Big
Lake lawyer Rupert Ricker. Though in 1919 no oil had been found within
100 miles, Ricker got leases on 431,360 acres of University of Texas land in Crockett,
Irion, Reagan and Upton counties. Soon working with him were P. G. Stokes, Big
Spring; Frank Pickrell and Haymon Krupp, El
Paso; and others. Their wildcat well, 1/2 mile south of this site, on Ollie
Parker's Ranch, was drilled by Carl Cromwell. Dee Locklin was tool dresser. Slow
and hard drilling made crew name well for Santa Rita, Patronness of the Impossible.
4 years, 2 months and a day after permit was filled, and at 3,055 feet, well pressure
tossed the rig's bucket high into the air. Santa Rita was a producer, the date
was May 28, 1923. This day the Permian Basin, since acclaimed one of the greatest
oil regions in the world, had its first big find. Other spectacular fields were
to follow. Multi-millions in royalty dollars have since made the University of
Texas one of the world's most heavily endowed schools. Original rig that brought
in Santa Rita now is on the university campus.
courtesy AnnaMarie Adams, April 2011
Texas Forum Subject:
Texon, Texas--in the '50's
I found your web site on
Texas ghost towns and read the comments on Texon, Texas. I am 64 years old and
back in the '50's I spent time in Texon with my grandparents when I was around
5 or 6 years old! I have a lot of wonderful memories from that time. My grandfather,
Charley O. Fowler worked for Marathon Oil Company and their house sat across the
road from the oilfield. I remember asking my grandmother one night what the fire
across from the house was and she told me it was on one of the wells. I became
very accustomed to the smell of the oil! Every year for many years Texon held
a "reunion" for residents and former residents of Texon. It was a grand time!
My grandparents' house was sold to someone in San Angelo, Texas and placed out
at Lake Nasworthy. I miss those good old days. There's nothing there anymore.
I wish the town and the oil business there had lasted. I miss it. - Janis Potter,
September 20, 2012
Born & raised in Texon
was born and raised in Texon. The old building pictured with the mailboxes in
front was actually the Post Office for many years. It was owned by my parents
and leased by the Postal Service. The front half of the building was the Post
Office. My Mother, Bertha Delz, was the postmaster for many years and retired
there. - Ronnie Delz, April 03, 2008
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