gas station in Bronco|
Photo courtesy Barcaly
Gibson, October 2006
in a Pecan Shell|
Bronco never had a
railroad, but has somehow managed to reach its centennial year - due to occur
in 2003. A cowboy with the colorful name of "Gravy" Fields opened a store and
applied for a post office in 1903. The name is said to have been suggested by
a traveling salesman.
Field's store supplied ranches in the vicinity
and by 1912 the town had 25 persons. The population high-water mark wasn't reached
until the 1960s when it was estimated to be 180. It has since declined to the
present estimate of 30.
closed Bronco Meat Packing & Mercantile|
Photo courtesy Barcaly
Gibson, October 2006
two miles west of town was a watering hole pre-dating Spanish exploration.
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Texas Forum Subject:
on The New Mexico State Line and getting Mail in Texas
My father R.F. Caraway, was a water well driller in Bronco when we lived there
in 1939. He met Mr. Gravy Fields when Mr. Fields was trying to keep the school
at Highway from being closed. Mr. Fields told my father that if he would move
our family into his house on the county line of Texas/New Mexico and we would
attend the Highway school, that we could have the house rent free... more
- Loretta Caraway, August 17, 2007
Dear Editor of Texas Escapes, This morning, on a lark, I
typed in Bronco, Texas on my internet search engine. The first image that popped
up on your website was a photograph of an old gas station. That gas station was
owned by my Grandparents and I spent every summer from 1965 to 1980 there. I grew
up in the Dallas area, but as soon as school was out for summer vacation, I would
beg my parents to take me to the bustling metropolis of Bronco!
with all small towns, Bronco had a ton of stories. Gravy (the town's founding
father) had three children...Robert, Ty and Anita. They all built their homes
around their father's house and they lived there their whole lives. Robert had
the 07 Ranch and was quite successful, as was Ty. They were both larger than life
west Texas Ranchmen.
At the gas station where I would spend all day with
my granddad, we would have the most colorful characters pass through. One day,
we had a woman who was roller skating from California to Florida! She was doing
it to raise money for some organization and this was back in the day before that
became popular to do to bring awareness to whatever cause the person is promoting.
We had people who would show up without any money and they would trade whatever
they owned for a tank full of gas. Many times my grandfather would just give them
the gas...he wouldn't even charge them. But then again, if you knew my grandfather,
you would know that's the type of man he was.
We had our regulars that
you could set your watch to. They would show up, talk about the weather or politics,
drink their bottle of soda pop and then go back to their fields to work. I was
a good 25 years younger than most of the residents that lived there, yet they
always treated me like an adult. I had learned and was driving a pickup truck
by the time I was nine years old, and I was always available to help out if a
rancher needed a hand. For my services helping out, I would charge them a snickers
bar and a Coca-Cola. They had no idea I was doing the work because I had fun doing
it (well maybe they did when I look back on it!)
At one time, there
was a restaurant, cotton gin, mercantile store, and the gas station all operating
at the same time. Bronco was hopping! Just north of Bronco was a slaughtering
house owned by Dan Fields (Ty's son.) But like most small towns, there always
seems to be a catalyst which leads to it's demise and that catalyst was that the
price of gas had gone through the roof. Plus with gas rations, people began traveling
less to vacation spots like Ruidoso and where we once would easily pump a thousand
gallons a day of gas, we began to pump less than a hundred. Oh there were some
days better than others, but you could feel the winds of change.
never been back to Bronco since 1980. My grandparents closed up the gas station
and moved to central Texas. My grandfather has passed on, but my grandmother continues
to live a full life.
There are many memories that I could share, but
will stop at these and reflect upon the halcyon days of Bronco, Texas. Thanks
for the webpage. - Jay Weesner, November 14, 2006
The seeming insignificant
little community of Bronco has played an interesting part in the lives of both
my wife and me. I would like to relate a couple of them:
My wife went
to High School in nearby Plains, Texas, and lived
about twelve miles south-east of Bronco. She rode a school bus to Bronco where
it first turned north on State Line road to let some kids off and then it went
south to deliver her and others. There was a standing deal with the bus driver
that if all went well on the bus; the south-bound kids could get off at Fields
Store while the north bound group was being taken home. Then the south bound group
would get back on and continue on their way. Can you imagine such a thing being
allowed in this day and age?
We both graduated from High School in 1959.
We met the first day of college, hit it off rather well and soon I found myself
making little week-end trips with her to her home. Coming from the west, the civilized
way to her house was into Plains, about ten miles
southwest on the Lovington Hiway then west on a fairly decent county road to the
house. However, at Bronco it was possible to turn south about eight miles, hope
to spot the irrigation pump with the big PontiacV8 engine strapped to it and turn
east a couple of miles. This road was not much more than turn-rows and not a good
idea in bad weather but a lot quicker. It was a bit of an adventure during the
winter, it do get cold on the High Plains.
To understand Bronco a little
better, you must know what was on the New Mexico side of the line in those days.
Lea county N.M. was "wet" while Yoakum county TX was and I think still is "dry".
There was a "watering hole' about 50 feet from stateline road. There were not
enough New Mexicans within 20 miles to fill the bar so they had to mostly be Texans.
The time zone changes from Central to Mountain time at that point so I guess they
figured it was all right to drink as long as it wasn't on Texas time. A few years
later there was an accident at the intersection in which a car lost control, went
through the bar and destroyed an airplane that had been parked inside the tin
building that had once served as a dance hall. A car, two people, a bar, a dance
hall and an airplane all at the same time! Sounds like divine intervention to
We were married in Plains in 1961, and did not get back for many
years. By then most things had changed in Bronco. On a trip west we turned south,
then east and found what was left of the house. Just a pile of concrete blocks
and a couple of rusted out pickup truck bodies. She poked around through the junk
but unlike a movie, she found no childhood treasures, just junk. That was 2002
and we haven't been back since. Some years ago a Welsh Poet wrote "you can never
go home" and guess he was right.
- Jim James, Plano, Texas, October 09,