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ORAN, TEXAS

Palo Pinto County, Texas Panhandle / North Central Texas

FM 52
About 5 Miles NE of Graford
NE of Mineral Wells
Population: 254 est. (2010)

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Oran, Texas Post Office
Oran, Texas Post Office
Photo courtesy Curtis Carter

History in a Pecan Shell

The original name was to be Black Springs, but that name had already been registered as a post office in Texas. It is believed that the present name came from Oran M. Roberts, a Governor of Texas.

The town was granted a post office in in 1886 and a mineral water industry began around 1908 - with local waters and crystals shipped all over the country.

An extension of the Texas and Pacific Railroad connected Oran with the rest of the world The extension was the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway. Oran became a shipping point for locally grown cotton, and in-season there was a gin that was in operation 24 hours a day.

Oran in its heyday could boast four general stores as well as an economical 20-room hotel, a weekly paper and even a skating rink.

The number of students in 1912 was 112, requiring a two-story school with four classrooms. The 1920s started out prosperous for the town but the boll weevil infestation in the middle of that decade had devastated the cotton crop.

The cotton gins were moved to whiter fields and even the water "industry" had a severe setback. As the economy tanked, the railroad added to the town's woes by taking up its tracks and tearing down the depot.

By the late 1960s there was a population of 80 - which slowly declined thereafter, resulting in a count of 61 people for the 2000 census.
Black Springs Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Curtis Carter
Historical Marker - On FM 52 in Oran

Black Springs

Settled before the Civil War and named for the area's early water source, located nearby, the Black Springs community played a significant role in the growth of Palo Pinto County. Prominent individuals associated with the town included early cattlemen and trail drivers Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight and J. J. "Jack" Cureton, a noted military veteran and pioneer. In 1886 the community was renamed Oran in honor of Texas Governor Oran M. Roberts. Once the county's leading town and the site of stores, churches, a school and railroad, it declined in the 1930s and 1940s.
(1982)
Charles Goodnight Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Curtis Carter
Historical Marker - On FM 52 in Oran
Charles Goodnight
Here at Black Springs in the Keechi Valley in 1857, the celebrated pioneer open range cowman and trail driver Charles Goodnight (1836-1929) located his first ranch on the extreme Indian frontier of Texas. From here he took part in the 1860 Pease River fight when Cynthia Ann Parker was recaptured from Comanches, he served as scout and guide for the Texas Rangers during the Civil War and in 1866 he laid out the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail, over which thousands of longhorns were driven to market in New Mexico. In 1867 at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, his partner Oliver Loving died from wounds suffered in an Indian attack. Without the aid of an undertaker, Goodnight carried the body by wagon through hostile Indian territory for burial at Weatherford (24 miles southeast).

Goodnight extended his cattle trails to Wyoming and to Colorado, where he started a ranch near Pueblo. In 1876 he established the first cattle ranch in the vast Texas panhandle, which became the internationally known JA Ranch. Involved in the preservation of the area's native buffalo, he also bred the first herd of cattalo by crossing buffalo with range cattle.

Goodnight's pioneer efforts led to the development of the frontier and the Texas cattle industry.
(1982)
Subject: Community of Oran
The two historical markers are located on the main street, out front of the post office. One of the markers describes the older community of Black Springs, and the change to the current name of Oran. Notice, toward the lower section of the left-hand door of the post office, there is a letter slot that has been cut in. I do not know how often this post office is still used, but during Christmas, letters can be dropped through the slot for delivery to Santa. The unusually low position of the door slot makes sense when you know this. - Curtis Carter, February 07, 2015
Oran, Texas Post Office
Photo courtesy Curtis Carter
More Texas Post Offices
Palo Pinto County TX 1920s Map
1920s Map showing Oran (Northeastern Palo Pinto County)
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Oran, Texas Area Towns:
Palo Pinto County Towns
Mineral Wells
Graham
Weatherford
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North Central Texas
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