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RANKIN, TEXAS

Upton County Seat, West Texas

Highways 67 and 349
55 miles S of Midland
32 miles SE of Crane
28 miles W of Big Lake
22 miles N of Iraan
Population: 783 (2010) 800 (2,000) 1,011 (1990)

Rankin, Texas Area Hotels > Midland Hotels
Rankin TX - Main Street
Main Street
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013

History in a Pecan Shell

Established in 1911, Rankin is the oldest town in Upton County.

Named after rancher F. E. Rankin, the town came into being when the former county seat of Upland (10 miles North) was bypassed by the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway.

A post office was established in 1912 and most of the population moved to town from Upland. Rankin however did not officially become county seat until 1921.

With the discovery of oil in the twenties, the population rose to an estimated 1,500 by 1928 and the town was incorporated that year.

The boom created funds to expand Rankin's infrastructure and explains the presence of the over-sized Yates Hotel (now the Rankin Historical museum).

The boom also funded a brick school, the courthouse and a two-story office building.

Oil close to Rankin was not found (at that time) and the population moved on to new fields. The population declined to 935 by 1931 and declined further during the Great Depression.

By 1940 the population was a mere 672 but an oil discovery north of Rankin came in building the town anew and bringing the population nearly up to what it was during the first boom.

Rankin has retained a population between 1,000 and 1,500 from the 1950s through the 2000 census with oil, sheep and cattle remaining the economic base.
Upton County Courthouse, Rankin, Texas
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, June 2006
Upton County Courthouse
Rankin TX - Yates Hotel
Museum, former Yates Hotel, south of the railroad tracks
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013
Rankin TX - Yates Hotel Historical Marker
Yates Hotel Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013
Rankin TX - Main Street
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013
Rankin TX - Main Street
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013
Rankin TX - Bicycle
Abandoned bike and bathtub in front of Yates Hotel. The courthouse can be seen in the background above the bicycle seat.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, February 2013

Rankin Chronicles

  • Yates Hotel & Rankin Beach by Mike Cox
    It marked a rough time in Rankinís history, when bootleg booze and black gold flowed with equal ease... more

  • Rankin Hotel by Mike Cox
    "At one time, as many as 10 hotels of sorts did a flourishing business in Rankin, but the Harlan and Yates amounted to the Waldorf Astoria and Ritz of the town once claiming a population of 10,000." ... more
  • Rankin, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    Odessa
    Midland
    Crane
    Big Lake
    Iraan
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