Ector County, West
Intersection of State Highway 158 and Farm Road 856
19 miles NW of Odessa
33 miles W of
Population : 297 (2000)
Swimming in the stock Tank and Fratricide at the
Buck Horn Bar
by Billy M. Brown
family first moved to Goldsmith from Coleman County in 1936. My grandmother indicated
that what is now State Highway 158 from Midland to Goldsmith was hardly more than
a cow trail. She said it took over four hours to drive the thirty miles. The family
joined with my grandmother's sister who was operating a beauty shop and my great
uncle and my great grandfather were working for Earnest Broughton who owned ice
houses in Odessa and Goldsmith. Earnest later became the Sheriff of Ector County
during the late 40's and early 50's. My step-grandfather got a job working on
the roads and drove a school bus. My grandmother joined her sister as a beauty
operator and they had their beauty shop in a skid tent. There were many tales
of the boom and the lively oilfied antics that went on during those years. My
grandparents lived in a tent for the biggest part of their first year there.
My uncle (my mother's half brother), was born in Goldsmith in February 1939.
When World War II broke out, my step grandfather's National Guard Unit was activated,
so the family left Goldsmith to move back to Coleman County to stay while he was
gone to the war. My grandfather was only gone about four months and was discharged
due to his age, as he was nearing 40 years old.
The family remained in
Coleman County during the War and my grandfather farmed. After the war and the
failure of the farm, my grandparents also failed in a couple of enterprises in
Coleman and Brown County. The family moved back to Goldsmith in 1948, where my
grandmother opened a beauty shop out of their house and my grandfather worked
at the Phillips 66 Service Station. It seems that Goldsmith was really good for
them. They invested in real estate by buying rent houses and property for a trailer
park. My grandfather later bought and operated the Gulf Service Station.
My mother and father divorced and we lived with my grandparents in Goldsmith.
That is where my first memories are. We lived counter corner from the school.
My mother remarried in 1952 and we rented houses from my grandparents. My mother
and stepfather left Goldsmith in 1954 and eventually we ended up in Odessa in
I attended Goldsmith Elementary the first and second grade. I learned
to swim in the stock water tanks around Goldsmith. The Goldsmith pool was opened
in 1954 but there was some reluctance [to use the pool] due to the polio epidemic
of the time. After the polio vaccine was discovered, the swimming pool thrived.
In the late 40's and early 50's, there were many oil field camps around Goldsmith
and the families come into Goldsmith for family functions. The kids attended Goldsmith
Elementary through the 6th grade and then were bussed into Odessa 20 miles away
for junior high and high school. I was a legitimate baby boomer being born in
1947, so when I started the first grade, they had to add another teacher and for
the first time, there were three first grade classes of 25 students each. The
grade school had about 230 students in those days, grades first through sixth.
My grandparents remained in Goldsmith until January 1971 when they decided
to retire and move to Lake Brownwood. The day my grandfather sold his service
station in Goldsmith and had completed the transaction, he came home as the movers
were coming the next day. He dropped dead that night. My grandmother moved to
Lake Brownwood, Dallas, Odessa and back to Dallas where she died in 1984.
In my memory, Goldsmith had four cafes, four service stations, four churches,
a movie theatre, a drug store, a variety store, a lumber store, three grocery
stores, three bars, three liquor stores, a Masonic Lodge, a Elk's Lodge, a poolhall/domino
parlor, two boarding houses, three or four apartment complexes (you wouldn't call
them that today). It was a fun place to grow up.
Infamous to this day
is the "Buck Horn" Bar. My great grandfather at age 85 was tossed in jail in Odessa
for being drunk, hostile and a public nuisance while in the Buck Horn one night.
At age 9, I saw a man kill his brother in front of the Buck Horn. I was about
a hundred yards away playing in a friend's back yard and we had a clear view of
the Buck Horn. He used a 22 rifle to shoot him. I hid and told me grandmother
later who told me to "Hush up" and keep it to myself and that I hadn't seen "anything."
- Billy M. Brown, Odessa, Texas, May 10, 2005
WOW!! The article "Remembering Goldsmith by Billy
Brown really brought back lots of old memories and I enjoyed it immensley.
My family worked and lived in the Goldsmith area for years. My Mom & Dad
moved to an oil field camp West of Goldsmith close to the Cole's Ranch and I lived
there for 6 years. We moved into Odessa
and still lived in a camp where I attended school. My older brother attended elementary
school in Goldsmith. I always went to Goldsmith on the weekends to stay with my
grandparents and go to the skating rink! I had many friends there and in Notrees.
My grandparents came through Goldsmith in the 30's and I remember them talking
about the tents. They lived in the Phillips camp for several years (around 1942)
and later moved into Goldsmith and opened a small cafe next to the movie theater.
The cafe was so busy they expanded and built a new one next to the variety store
at the other end of town. (John's Cafe) I have many memories of working there
washing dishes, standing on an apple crate and later getting to go up front and
waitress. The oilfield hands came in on a daily basis and were very "good" tippers.
They came for Lillie's (my grandmother) homemade pies and delicious home cooked
food!! In the late 50's the cafe burned out and they never reopened. - Thanks
again, Deanna Bolen Haynie, October 30, 2007
Your Hotel Here & Save
dad worked for El Paso Natural Gas so we lived in the camp about 1 mile west of
town. I went to Goldsmith elementary for 2 years, then rode the bus 21 miles to
Crockett Jr. Hi. Then went to Odessa Hi until I quit and joined the Navy in 1962.
My brother and I had an Allstate scooter that we terrorize the town with, we rode
I think there was 3 grocery stores in town then, one was
owned by the Kirshners, not sure about the spelling, another one was owned by
Mr. Beecham, it was over next to the post office and beauty shop. I had my first
job in Goldsmith, washed cars at Mr. Morrrell's El Paso gas station, I think he
paid me 85 cents an hour. When Mr. Pack was the only police officer in town, he
went after us one day on our scooter, we went to the caleche pit, but when we
got home he was sitting on the porch talking to my dad. Went to bed soar that
What a town, a lot of huge memories from such a small town. The
population those days was 618, but everyone forgets there was a lot more than
that in the camps, and on the oil leases. It was a great place to grow up and
explore the world. - Lee Bonds, Hesperia , California, December 20, 2005
Notrees and Goldsmith, Texas
family moved to the Humble Oil Camp (1 mile out of Goldsmith) when I was just
starting the 4th grade. (1957) I attended Goldsmith Elementary School and, later,
Crocket Junior High. Our Camp was the 2nd stop on the bus route to Odessa,
and in it's heyday there were 7 or 8 of us making the trek, but at the end it
was only my friend, Sheila, and I. The oil field had moved to Monahans
and we moved to Odessa. I still remember stopping in Notrees on the way to Odessa.
Goldsmith had a variety store, 2 grocery stores and about 7 liquor stores,
if my memory serves me right. I had always heard that it had been quite a boom
town in the past. I think it even had a hotel--I think. Anyway, we never did anything
but pass through Notrees, but it seemed
to me that there was nothing there in those days. It made Goldsmith look big.
I haven't been back to my old stomping grounds since I graduated in
1965; however, I'm going back in May and try to remember where everything was.
I had some good times on that ol' flat piece of ground. - Judy Keffer, February
"grew as a result of Permian Basin oil development. In 1936 Imogene Bunn
petitioned for a post office, but the name that she proposed, Ector City, was
denied because another Texas town had it. Goldsmith was chosen, in honor of rancher
C. A. Goldsmith, whose land included the townsite. ..." See Handbook of Texas