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CRANE, TEXAS

Crane County Seat, West Texas
Hwys 385 and 329
32 miles South of Odessa
21 miles North of McCamey

Population: 3,191 (2000) 3,533 (1990)


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Crane, Texas downtown street scene and watertower, 1940s
Crane street scene with watertower, 1940s
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
Both county and city were named after Wm. Carey Crane who was a founder of the old Baylor University in Independence, Texas.

Crane County was formed in 1887 from land that had once been Tom Green County. The county was finally organized in 1927. In 1890 there were a reported 15 people who had coffee with the census enumerator.

History in a Pecan Shell

Even as Crane entered the 20th Century, the cattle and sheep outnumbered the people by a ratio of 420 to 1.

That meant 51 people and 21,400 animals in 1900.

They got a post office in 1908. By 1918 they started building roads and by 1920 there were only 37 people left in the county.

The oil boom changed that. The same regional boom that brought in the towns of Wink, McCamey, Iraan, and Notrees added an overnight population of thousands of land speculators, workers and camp followers. Mr. Ollin Columbus Kinnison* platted a townsite and named the streets after his children.

The need for a courthouse was addressed in 1927 - the year the county was organized. Other city amenities came as the oil sold. At one point - water was so scarce that women sent their laundry to El Paso by train.

The population reached 1,400 in 1940. It should be remembered that 1941 was the year that Texas' rural population was outnumbered by its urban population. In Crane's case, the urban population always outnumbered the rural.

Oil continues to be Crane's main revenue source. Farming has never been big in Crane County and Cattle is a distant second source of revenue.

"Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos"

7 miles South of Crane on US 385 is a marker signifing the "Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos". Although the crossing could not be pin-pointed due to flooding and conditions, this is thought to be the vicinity.

The name stems from an abundance of horse and mule skulls found there. The animals died from drinking too much water too fast. The crossing wasn't used after the coming of the railroad, but before that it was the only logical low-water crossing for miles. It was a crossing for Indians, stagecoaches and cattleherds.
TX -  Crane County Courthouse
Crane County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013
Star and stipes and eagle mural
Patriotic mural in Crane
Photo courtesy James Rowland, 2004
Crane High School, Crane, Texas

Crane High School
Photo courtesy James Rowland, 2004
Police station in Crane, Texas
Crane Police Station
Photo courtesy James Rowland, 2004
Crane, Texas city limit sign
Crane City Limit
Photo courtesy James Rowland
Crane Texas street scene
Crane street scene
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
Red fire truck
White fire truck
Fire trucks in Crane
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
Crane Tourist Information
Crane Chamber of Commerce: 432-558-2311
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Crane Texas Forum

  • Forwarding scan of a matchbook cover in my collection of Texas memorabilia. Does anyone remember Pat's Place, know when this business opened and closed, or have a photo? - Tom KC, April 14, 2006
  • Pat's Place Matchbook cover, Crane, Texas
    Matchbook cover. Drink Harry Mitchell's Lager Beer
  • Subject: picture of "picture show"
    Dear Editor, I lived in Crane in thirties until 1947, and how fondly I remember the "Picture Show" on Saturday afternoons for 10 cents! I am looking for a photo of the "picture show" on the main street during that time. Could you help me find one? Thanks ever so much, Carolyn Boren Adams, November 26, 2005

  • Dear Editor, In surfing the web, I came across your excellent web site about the city of Crane in West Texas. I was fascinated since you have a picture of the red fire truck I took in 1949, as a Volunteer Fireman, to the gas station to fill up with gas and … well, it is a long story, too long for this email, but you can find it already on the internet, on our website: www.booksonhistory.com. You will find it when you click on the excerpt for my book, “Angel Kisses and My Beating Heart, My Life and Near-Death Experiences.” When I wrote that book I realized how important Crane was in my life. I think I have at least 26 pages devoted to life in Crane, some with pictures similar to the ones you have.

    (A new congregation in 1945 that had been granted the privilege of using the Crane County courthouse as their temporary quarters. In my book there are pictures and the story of how we built the building that is now the Catholic Church in Crane.)

    Thanks for your Website. We have taken the liberty of adding a link to your site from our page of “Places”. Your site is fun and we thought others ought to have a chance to know about Crane.

    P.S I hope this information might put me in contact with others who remember me and my wife, Karin, who married me during my days in Crane.- Jack CO. Ramsay, Former pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Crane, October 25, 2005

  • I was born in Crane Texas in 1949 I used to live and play on top of the Old Court House. I haven't been home in 43 years .Please keep up the good work. - Jean ( Dozier ) Cundall, July 15, 2002

  • In the 1950's, the first Courthouse was an apartment house. I loved growing up in Crane. If could I would move back. When I was young the town seemed to be one large family. That's what I want to get back to. - A child of a Great small town, July 16, 2002

  • I was born in Crane, Texas. My grandparents were James Robert (Bud) Boyd and Mary Elizabeth Boyd. He was Cty. Commissioner and listed several places in a Crane genealogy site. They were 2 of the original founders of the First Baptist Church of Crane and are buried in Crane.

    Hope to see more photos of Crane. I remember the fire chutes of the high school and the light in the tower when we won football games. - Sandy, Crane, 06/Jul/2002

  • What a surprise to see downtown Crane on the Internet! Also, to see the Crane water tower that I used to try to climb as a girl!

    My grandfather was JK Price longtime city manager of Crane in the 50s and 60s. Thanks for the memory Ms Beauchamp! - Jonette, Flower Mound, 22/Jun/2002

  • Correction
    *I ran across the Texasescapes.com website recently & a reference to my great grandfather, Ollin Columbus Kinnison. You spelled his name as O. C. Kimmison. We've seen the same error on the etexas.edu website & requested it be corrected. Thanks. - William Gaston Kinnison, III Redmond, WA.
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