a Pecan Shell
Notrees is one of Texas' later towns. The town's birth was the building
of a gas plant for the Shell Oil Co.
As with many Texas towns, the first store served as the first post
office and the storekeeper, one Charlie Brown, was the first postmaster.
The store opened in 1946 and Mr. Brown named the town. Since
there were already a plethora of "Brown" towns (Brownwood,
etc.), Mr. Brown decided to name the town after its arboreal deficiency.
It's interesting to note that the construction of the plant caused
the only tree in the area to be cut down. We suppose we should all
be thankful that the town wasn't named Stumpville.
Ten years after the founding, there was a population of 500, a school,
competition for Charlie Brown's store and at least one liquor store.
The camps for the plant are now gone, but enough people stayed to
keep the town alive.
There are more trees here now, and while we can't provide a tree
census, the human population is somewhere around 300 people.
Marker on Hwy 302
Photo courtesy George Hollis
Post Office established
1944 in drug store of C. J. Brown, Jr., who named it in response to
U.S. Postoffice Dept. request for title suitable to locality. Residents
have since made history by planting shade trees. Now production hub
of permian basin; center of gas processing industry, and home of Otto's
Photo courtesy Bronson Dorsey, February 2012
courtesy Bronson Dorsey, February 2012
The old Notrees Volunteer Fire Department truck
"A little background on the Notrees fire truck. It is a 1938
International 500 gallon pumper that started life in the Odessa Fire
Department, then was the Goldsmith volunteer unit for many years before
Notrees acquired it. It sure is nice to see an old friend."
Bulsterbaum, December 06, 2016
by Mike Moore
Willard Van Brunt buzzing Notrees
Notrees Fire Department
Hello, Just wanted to send a picture
of some of Notrees finest volunteers in front of the truck that
is pictured on your website under Notrees. My father is the third
one from the left. We lived in Notrees from 1957-1967. My father
worked as a pumper for TXL and my mother worked for Charlie Brown.
Many thanks for keeping alive the memories. - Bill Bryant, December
I'm enclosing a photo of the old Notrees Volunteer Fire Department
truck that I shot yesterday. Feel free to use it on your Notrees
page. I loved reading the memories of former residents. - Bronson
Dorsey, Austin, www.lost-texas.com., February 04, 2012
"The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree"
There was a question about the so-called "Christmas in Notrees"
song. The song is actually "The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree" by Andy
Wilkinson from Lubbock.
To solve a mystery, I had received a tape of the song while in the
Navy, package postmarked Lubbock,
Texas with no other name on it. Mr. Wilkinson had actually mailed
it to me as a gift and I "bumped" into him recently when he was
in town doing a concert. I accidently overheard him talking about
the song and I told him how I had received the package years ago
and had always wondered who sent it. It was nice to finally get
to thank him for his kindness. At the time I was freshly overseas
and terribly homesick. It shows you what a small world we live in
and yet another example of how everybody's acts of kindness do not
go unnoticed. Thanks, Andy. - Kyle Davian, Nolan County, Texas,
March 22, 2011
A Notrees story
Attached is an excerpt from a memoir I wrote. It is about an impressionable
experience while growing up in Notrees Texas.
See Wings over Notrees
My family and I lived there from 1949 to mid 1955. My entire elementary
school experience was spent there. It was a busy crossroads of an
oilfield town that had eight or nine oil field camps and an active
social life in those camps. The environment for a young boy growing
was a sort of heaven of freedom with the vast countryside offering
many opportunities for camping, arrowhead hunting, archeological
wonders, and a friendly population. In my opinion, life was good
in those years. I don't regret one moment of growing up in that
part of Texas.
The family photo
of the two couples depicts my parents and their two friends. I am
not sure who took. I doubt anyone living knows. Beginning on the
left is my mother, Lillian Moore and to her left is her husband
( my father) A. J. (Blackie) Moore. They were residents of Notrees
from the September of 1949 through the summer of 1955. Next to them
is Willard Van Brunt and his wife Helen Van Brunt. They were residents
of Notrees from 1949 through 1950 (circa). Willard, a Shell Oil
Company employee, was called into the Korean War conflict as a flight
instructor in T-33 Thunderbird jets. He was the one who buzzed Notrees
with a student in the story I wrote. He died in 1957 in a fiery
car accident in Venezuela. As of 2006, his wife and children are
still my friends. My mother Lillian died of pancreatitis in 1960.
My father died in 1976.
The six years in Notrees that we spent as a family probably represented
the zenith of the Notrees years as it related to population and
commerce. The year 1960 represented the beginning of a dramatic
decline in that area due to the oil company's decision to move their
oil operations to North Africa, and primarily to Saudi Arabia. That
move is what killed the Permian Basin economy as we knew it and
it moved to just a well servicing economy.
My early years in that area are greatly appreciated. Now, Notrees
is a ghost town in my opinion, but at one time it was the equivalent
of a boom town. I enjoyed it. - Mike Moore, August 03, 2006
It's good to see Notrees still lives in many of our memories. 1949
to 1952 were the best years of my life. I did 4th, 5th, & 6th grades
at Notrees Elementary then we moved into Odessa where I started
the 7th at Bowie JH and finished at OHS in ' 58. The worst move
of my life. Cried for days - seriously. Notrees was the perfect
place for a 9 to 12 year old boy. I had a dog (Buddy) and a .22
rifle and walked the whole cap rock hunting rabbits. Actually got
sprayed right in the face by a skunk one morning when I was running
my trap line with my buddy Jim Tom. Heck, we would take our 22 rifles
with us on the school bus so we could hunt rabbits while we walked
home after school. Can you imagine that in today's world?
My Dad worked for Shell and we lived in the camp directly across
from Brown's drug store/post office. In fact, Lanita Brown was my
first girlfriend in the 4th grade. Sadly she died of cancer in 1998
just months before our 40th Odessa High School reunion. Her daddy
named Notrees and her mother was post mistress until she retired.
Ms. Brown died in Ruidosa NM a couple of years ago where she was
living with her daughters Diane and Judy. We kept in touch through
I've used Notrees Elementary as an example of efficiency in education
often. Total of four staff members for 1st through 6th grades. Mr.
Miller taught 5th and 6th, was the principal, the sports coach,
and ran it all. Ms. Clark was 3rd & 4th, while Ms. Miller was 1st
and 2nd - and they all did their own administrative support. Mr.
Adams drove the bus, was building custodian, plumber, electrician,
heating plant engineer (no a/c in those days), grounds keeper, and
jack of all trades - not to mention school nurse. I still have a
scar on my wrist where Mr. Adams dug a mesquite thorn out with his
pocket knife! Would you believe that they actually held kids back
that didn't pass, and even bumped kids ahead a grade when they learned
two grades at once.
I spent 20 years in the Air Force and settled down here in San Antonio
in 1982. Although I lived in Odessa 1952 - 1960, everyone knows
me as the guy from Notrees, Texas. I guess I've told too many stories
about the good days out there.
Long live Notrees Texas and the Cap Rock Cafe (best cheeseburgers
in the world!!!) !!! - George Hollis, San Antonio, July 30, 2006
"Christmas In Notrees"
A man I work with seems to be obsessed with the song "Christmas
in Notrees." Mr. Davian said that he has a copy. Could we get him
to make a copy? I will pay for the recording, postage and handling.
Please also note that Notrees has some bike trails nearby which
are pretty cool! Our Boy Scout Troop went there a couple of years
ago. Thanks, Tip Kirwan, Midland, Texas, July 02, 2006
Notrees, thanks for everything.
My name is Kyle Davian and I have a special place in my heart for
Notrees, and especially the former postmaster, Millsie King. Back
in the mid-nineties I was sent overseas to Japan, where I would
remain for many years. I got homesick for Ector County where I was
raised. But I had always had fond memories of Notrees. Even as a
child, I appreciated the sereness of the area and every so often
I would pester my dad to drive through there. We would always see
a jackrabbit, roadrunner or horned toad and I swore (like kids do)
that one day I would grow up to live in Notrees - and be the mayor.
Anyway, [from Japan] I sent a letter trying to locate someone in
Notrees to talk to. My letter ended up in the hands on the Odessa
postmaster, a nice man (I forget his name) who routed the letter
to Millsie. Soon thereafter (and during many a frequent northern
Japan blizzard) I checked my mailbox. Many people don't realize
just how important mail is to us overseas. Imagine my surprise when
I saw a priority packet stamped "Notrees, Texas". Inside was a nice
letter from Millsie, along with several items from several residents,
little keepsakes like "I Love Notrees" button, etc. It was my Notrees
care package. Through the years I embraced the town and looked forward
to every letter. Others heard about our relationship and sent items
such as a cassette with the song "Christmas in Notrees." That one
came postmarked Lubbock. To this date, I still do not know who sent
it, but I still have it and it means a whole lot to me. I later
found out that the Notrees post office had my original letter on
I became a Notrees "cheerleader," and once had our overseas television
station announce the weather in Notrees one day. Yes, I said, there
is such a place, and you have to actually go there to understand
why. These memories molded me into an adult that no matter how far
I travel across the world and see all the terrible things I see,
I always know I can go "home" and get a smile, a cup of coffee or
a pat on the back from people there, even if I don't personally
know them. Notrees, thanks for everything. - Kyle Davian, Sweetwater,
Texas, April 07, 2006
If Notrees had a post office in Mr. Brown's store Notrees must have
had a name before it became Notrees. Anyone knowing that name please
phone me collect at 972-686-3055. If I'm not in leave a message
or leave info on my answering machine. - Bill Cannon, February
Subject: Notrees before it was Notrees
Mr. Bill Cannon asked what the town's name was before it was Notrees.
It did not have a name and that's how Notrees came to be. To have
a post office a community first needed a name and there wasn't one.
Attached is a picture of the Notrees
Historical Marker which pretty much explains it. Charlie Brown
(our neighbor across the highway) filled out an application to establish
a post office and he wrote "no trees" in the post office request
form for a name suitable for local. Prior to that oilfield hands
just called it TXL after the gasoline plant. Incidently, the Historical
Marker is right in front or where our house was in the Shell Oil
Company camp. Thanks. - George Hollis, August 02, 2006
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
I grew up in
the " big" town of Notrees, Texas. I read that you could not get
in touch with the post office in Notrees. The telephone number is
(915) 827-3326. I hope this helps! Thank You, Star Gholson
Our sincere thanks to Charlene Beatty Beauchamp for
photographing Notrees especially for Texas Escapes. Charlene Beatty
Beauchamp is the Webmaster and County Coordinator for many West
Texas County Genealogical websites.
photos by Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
Area Hotels > Odessa
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact