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Texas Ghost Town
Terrell County, West Texas

US 90 and Hwy 349
20 miles E of Sanderson
85 miles SE of Fort Stockton
103 miles SW of Ozona
100 miles W of Del Rio
25 miles W of Langtry on Hwy 90
Population: 9 est. (2010)

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Dryden School, Texas
The schoolhouse in Dryden
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, August 2005
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History in a Pecan Shell

The town was named for Chief Engineer Eugene E. Dryden of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railroad when it arrived at this site in 1882. Although it was first only a section house, within two years Dryden was the headquarters for the Pecos Land and Cattle Company. Dryden became an important cattle-shipping point through the early 1900s. The community had a post office by 1888.

The Pecos L & C Company drilled a well that supplied the entire town with water. In 1908 the town had a hotel and four years later a school was built which did triple duty as a church, school and community center. U.S, Troops were stationed at Dryden during the "Border Unrest" brought about by the 1913 - 1917 Mexican Revolution. Despite the border troubles, Mexican ranchers continued to bring their cattle to Dryden to have them shipped on to San Antonio.

The Block Y Ranch started shipping cattle from Dryden in 1917 and relocated some of their employees to Dryden. Housing for the families and a headquarters building were built. By 1929 the population was 100 people but during the Great Depression the railroad closed its Dryden depot and the population was reduced by half. The area's ranches broke up and sold out. The population increased back to 100 in the 1940s but declined back to 50 by the mid-1960s.

By 1988 Dryden's population was a mere 13 people and the post office was still in use.
Old mercantile store in Dryden Texas
An old Mercantile store, "you can barely make out the words Mercantile and Prop."
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, August 2005
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Dryden Mercantile and US post office, Dryden, Texas
Dryden Mercantile and US Post Office. The store is still open
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, August 2005
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Dryden Texas
Purple Sage Saloon
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, January 2008
Dryden Texas post office ?
Photo courtesy Sam & Donna Hayes, 2007
Dryden TX - Post Office
Dryden Post Office, since burned
Photo courtesy Duane Miller
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Old water tower in Dryden
Photo courtesy Allen Waters, 1994
Old Water Tower in Dryden

"I was trying to find some information concerning photographs I had taken back on a road trip in May 1994... Being somewhat of a rail buff, I spotted this structure as we were on our way from Eagle Pass to Marathon (along US Highway 90) and thought I recognized what it was. My wife was driving, so she turned around for me to get some photographs of it. Sure enough, it was what I thought it was - a water tower from the days of steam. I remember seeing another one later that day in Sanderson, but didnít get to photograph it.

Iíve attached a photograph of the Dryden tower- as best as I can tell, it has since been removed. It obviously hadnít been used for some decades when I took this photograph on 17 May 1994... Itís certainly a vanishing piece of Americana..." - Best Regards, Allen Waters, Virginia Beach, VA, June 05, 2016

See Texas Water Towers

Dryden School 1912 class photo
Dryden School (Texas?) 1912 class photo (See Forum below)
Edna (Withrow) Carr is the second young girl standing to your right.

Courtesy Luana (Carr) Wetli

Dryden, Texas Forum

  • Subject: Dryden School (Texas ?)1912 class photo
    I have a pic of my grandmother and her class taken outside by a one room school house. On the bottom of the pic is "Dryden School". I believe it maybe from Dryden, TX. We just found this pic in some old pics of my father's. I know my grandmother was born in OK Territory and her family later moved to Texas.

    Do you have records of the children or families that had children in the Dryden school? John Robert and Frances Ethel Withrow children were Edna Caroline born 1904, Joe born 1907, and B. J. born 1909. All 3 children maybe in the pic. I know they lived in Knox City, TX when my grandmother and grandfather had my father, Clinton Carr. - Luana (Carr) Wetli, Monticello, IN, April 11, 2016

  • Subject: Dryden Texas Photos
    I loved the photos of Dryden. Most of them I already have that were taken by my mother, Pauline Chandler (deceased), daughter of John and Lillye Williams of Dryden.

    Mrs. John Williams owned and operated the Purple Sage Saloon during WWII and it was The Cactus Cafe then. There was a room behind the cafe where they held dances on Saturday nights. It is my understanding is that part of the cafe was at some point destroyed by fire, but I don't think my Grandmother Lillye owned it then.

    My Grandmother also owned and ran the Dryden Mercantile for eight years during the fifties. That building is now vacant and the business moved to the old school house which has been restored.

    The other mercantile building with the shed attached became an auto repair business in the early fifties and was owned by the only black couple in town, John and Annie ( I can't remember the Last name).

    Thank you for sharing the wonderful photographs and memories of my childhood. - Sincerely, Daniel F. Chandler, July 29, 2015

  • Subject: Dryden, Texas - Post Office
    The post office has somewhat of an interesting history for my family. My grandmother, Mabel Amanda Miller (my Dad's mother), was appointed postmistress there in 1914. She held that post until her death in 1936. After her death her son Ernest Miller (my Dad) was appointed postmaster and held the position until 1940 at which time he sold the house with the attached post office to my other grandmother, Beulah Farley and her husband Raymond Farley. They were appointed postmaster and postmistress of Dryden. They retired from the post office around 1963 and sold the house & post office to Buster & Angie Winn who became the new postmaster and postmistress. Angie was the daughter of Beulah Farley (my Mother's older sister and my Aunt). She is also the mother of Karen Barnes who started this conversation! The house and post office burned down sometime after Angie & Buster took over.

    Most everything that was in Dryden is gone now. My older brother started school in the two room school house that use to be south of the tracks on the east end of town. I use to spend a lot of time in the train depot watching the telegraph operator work his magic on the telegraph key. In the summer when the steam engines stopped to take on water many of us kids would rush over to be doused by the large filler tube on the big water tank - it was a sure way to cool off. - Sincerely, Duane Miller, College Station, Texas, July 19, 2013

  • Subject: Dryden Tx
    The picture you have labeled as possibly having been the post office in Dryden never was. It was the Purple Sage Saloon. The original post office was on the other side of the rail road tracks and burned years ago. My grandparents were Raymond and Beula Farley and were the postmaster and postmistress. Sincerely, Karen Barnes, July 17, 2013

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  • Dryden Texas
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