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 Texas : Towns A-Z / West Texas :

GOLDSMITH, TEXAS

Northwestern Ector County, West Texas
Intersection of State Highway 158 and Farm Road 856
19 miles NW of Odessa
33 miles W of Midland
Population : 297 (2000)

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Goldsmith City Jail Texas
Former Goldsmith City Jail
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2006

Goldsmith Texas Forum

Remembering Goldsmith
Swimming in the stock Tank and Fratricide at the Buck Horn Bar

by Billy M. Brown

My 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 1955.

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

Subject: Remembering Goldsmith
Dear TE,
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

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Goldsmith, Texas post office
Post Office in Goldsmith
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2006

Subject: Goldsmith, Texas

My 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 everywhere.

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 night.

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

Goldsmith Texas watertower
Goldsmith water tower
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2006
   
Subject: Notrees and Goldsmith, Texas
My 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 27, 2004
Goldsmith History
Goldsmith "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 Online
http://www.tshaonline.org/
Goldsmith, Texas
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