in a Pecan Shell
The town got a
late start as far as most county seats go. It wasn’t until the summer
of 1926 when town builder “Ace” Borger (namesake of Borger,
Texas) and his partner J.T. Peyton sold lots in the fledgling
community. The town’s namesake was Amarillo
resident Albert Sydney Stinnett,
who bought the right-of-way for the the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf
Railway (Amarillo Branch).
The population soared from almost zero to 2,500, making it the largest
town in the county. The former seat of government in Plemons
was forced to relinquish that title when a special election was held
in September of 1926.
The community managed to profit from the mid-1920s oil boom, but without
gaining a reputation for lawlessness, even though a bootlegger was
shot to death in the county jail. Illegal liquor seems to have been
the town’s major vice during Prohibition with just about any business
in town supplying it.
The boom was over when oil prices bottomed out with the onset of the
Great Depression. From a population nearing 3,000, Stinnett fell to
just 500 residents. Seventy-five businesses shrank to fewer than twenty.
As the new decade began, 635 people were counted for the 1940 Census.
By 1960 it had grown to 2,695. The Census of 1990 reported 2,260 residents,
the 2000 Census counted 1,936 and the 2010 Census had just over 1,800
residents calling Stinnett home.
Stinnett was born in 1863 and named after Confederate General
Albert Sydney Johnston (who had died the previous year). Born in Belton
(Bell County), he
moved his family to Amarillo
from Fort Worth in
1905 and became a tireless promoter of Amarillo
and the entire region. He sold his business to devote his time exclusively
to development and spent two years getting the Rock Island Railroad
to connect their existing lines to Amarillo,
even financing part of construction costs to Kansas. He died in Amarillo
in January of 1935 and was buried in that city’s Llano Cemetery.
Landmarks / Area Destinations
Cottage historical marker
Photo courtesy Terry
Jeanson, March 2008
|1940s map showing
the Canadian River
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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