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WINK, TEXAS

Roy Orbison's boyhood home

Winkler County, West Texas
Hwy 115 and FM 1232
7 miles SW of Kermit
54 miles W of Odessa
73 miles W of Midland
51 miles NE of Pecos

Population: 1,200

Book Area Hotel > Midland Hotels | Odessa Hotels
Wink, Texas gas station, 1910
Old gas station in Wink circa 1910
Photo courtesy Marianne Clancy

Wink, Texas Attractions/Images >

History in a Pecan Shell

Wink was born late for a Texas town. The year was 1926 and oil had just been discovered. They wanted the town named Winkler after the County, but the postal authorities said no. So they shortened their application to Wink and got their post office in 1927. This was the same year they organized a school.
Vintage view of Wink, Texas
Vintage photos of Wink
Photo Courtesy The Winkler County Historical Society

The original residents (both of them) were surprised when the population swelled to 3,500 by late 1927. By 1929 the population was 6,000 and that even surprised the newcomers. It's entirely possible that with all the activity that several people were counted twice. Naturally, the infrastructure had a hard time keeping up. A wave of boom-town parasites invaded the town and earned Wink a place in Texas history alongside Kilgore, Borger, Ranger, Freer and Beaumont as one of the wilder oil towns.

The city government was under the control of organized crime in 1928. This was unheard of in Texas! Texans were used to crime in local government - they just hadn't heard of any being organized. A Judge declared the city's incorporation void in 1928 and they went about building a jail. We're told the jail was the first municipal building.


When the Texas-New Mexico Railroad came through in 1929, the population was already declining. Even connecting the town to Monahans didn't stop the former Winkites from moving away.

The 30s saw another attempt at incorporation, and this time it took. There was increased medical care, even as the population continued to decline.

A cycle of small gains and losses in both people and businesses kept Wink busy through the 40s and 50s. The town made National headlines in 1960 when it received a million dollars in Federal funds which it spent on curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

WINK, TEXAS ATTRACTIONS / IMAGES

The Roy Orbison Museum
If you are old enough, you've heard Wink mentioned for being Roy Orbison's boyhood home. If you're like most people, while you were on the way to get an atlas you probably got distracted, so you're still unaware of exactly where Wink is. If you're young enough, you'll probably ask Roy who?
The Old Wink Cemetery
Old Wink Cemetery is the burial site of 26 persons who died during the early days of the oil boom, 1926-1929. ... The cemetery marker is inside the Wink Museum. more
The Rig Theatre
A handsome survivor of Wink's heyday and one of the rare Texas theaters from the 20s has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. more
Sidewalks of Wink - Like-New Sidewalks and a Paper Historical Marker
"Wink qualified as a perfect example - the "poster child" for Urban Renewal in Texas. $1,000,000 was awarded to raze dilapidated and/or dangerous structures plus install new infrastructure for future growth." more
Old Gas Stations in Wink
Vintage photos of Wink
Wink Information
Please contact: Wink City Hall - 213 E. Hendricks, 915-527-3441
The Rig Theatre today
The Rig Theatre in Wink
Photos Courtesy of Lou Ann Herda, April 2005
Wink Texas Forum

I am watching a Roy Orbison concert special on National Public Television. I decided to search for information about Roy. I found his home town of Wink, Texas and was entertained by the historical notes about Wink. I also noted the 'Roy Orbison Museum' located there which I will remember to visit when I travel through Texas. Thank You - V, Seattle, Washington, 11/Jun/2002

Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

Wink, Texas
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