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  • PENWELL, TEXAS

    Texas Ghost Town
    Ector County, West Texas
    Hwy. 80
    16 miles SW of Odessa

    Population: 74 (2000)

    Penwell, Texas Area Hotels
    Odessa Hotels

    Penwell TX - Joker Coffee Shop
    "The shell of The Joker Coffee Shop"
    Photo courtesy Bronson Dorsey - http://lost-texas.com

    Penwell, Texas History in a Pecan Shell

    Ector County's first oil boom occurred at "Derrick City" – near the former town of Judkins.

    When the R. R. Penn Kloh-Rumsey No. 1, came in – the drilling operator was Penn, thus it was Penn’s well or Penwell. He is said to be the town’s namesake, however the historical marker on Hwy 80 states that the land was owned by one Robert Penn – another possible source for the town’s name.

    The discovery was in the first half of October, 1929, the town was laid out the next month and a post office was granted in June the next year.

    Penwell experienced the same predictable explosion of population as other oil towns and naturally, the same growing pains. Shacks and tents outnumbered proper dwellings.

    According to the Handbook of Texas - Penwell had filling stations, stores, hotels, a drugstore, barbershop, dance hall, and the typical boom town rooming houses.

    When drilling declined the population dwindled accordingly. Odessa and Midland – as well as new oil towns siphoned off population and Penwell was down to a ghost of it’s former self.
    Penwell Texas railroad tracks
    A view from the railroad
    Photo courtesy Lexie Nichols & Jordan Gibson, February 2007
    Mass grave of Chinese railroad workers near Penwell
    Mass grave of Chinese railroad works near Penwell.
    Photo Courtesy Lexie Nichols & Jordan Gibson , February 2007
    Details on the grave are available in Mel Brown's book Chinese Heart of Texas
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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of their town, please contact us.

    Penwell, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    Odessa

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