PHS mascot: Phillips Blackhawks

Phillips High School
Alumni Association
P.O. Box 1710, Borger TX 79008

PHS mascot: Phillips Blackhawks

 

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Hutchinson County: Places Found on Many Maps

* Borger, TX * Phillips, TX
* Dial, TX    Pringle, TX
* Electric City, TX * Sanford, TX
* Fritch, TX    Spring Creek, TX
   Lieb, TX * Stinnett, TX

 Places listed here exist in some form. Those with * are found on most maps.
A recent map of Hutchinson County is HERE

A 1930's map of Hutchinson County is HERE
A 1907 map of Hutchinson County is HERE

 

* BORGER, TX

Borger, at the junction of State highways 136, 152, and 207, in south central Hutchinson County, was established by and named for A. P. (Ace) Borger, who was reputed throughout Oklahoma and Texas to be a shrewd town promoter. In March 1926, after the discovery of oil in the vicinity, Borger and his partner, attorney John R. Miller, purchased a 240-acre townsite near the Canadian River in the southern part of the county. Within ninety days of its founding, sensational advertising and the lure of "black gold" brought over 45,000 men and women to the new boomtown. In October the charter incorporating the city of Borger was adopted, and Miller was elected mayor. By that time the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway had completed a spur line to Borger, a post office had opened, and a school district had been established. J. D. (Big Heart) Williams set up the first hamburger stand in Borger on the three-mile-long Main Street, where a hotel and a jail had also been erected. Telephone service and steam-generated electricity were available by the end of 1926. Before wells were drilled, drinking water was provided in tank wagons. The ranchers John R. Weatherly and James A. Whittenburg, hoping to cash in on the boom, established two rival townsites, Isom and Dixon Creek, next to that of Borger. Later these were incorporated into the Borger city limits, as was the oil camp of Signal Hill to the northeast. In November 1927 a fire destroyed the Dixon Creek Oil Company refinery, causing more than $60,000 worth of damage. One noted visitor to Borger during this time was the artist Thomas Hart Benton, whose painting Boom Town depicts his impression of Borger's Main Street.
Within a matter of months, oilmen, prospectors, roughnecks, panhandlers, fortune seekers, card sharks, bootleggers, prostitutes, and dope peddlers descended on Borger. "Booger Town," as it was nicknamed, became a refuge for criminals and fugitives from the law. Before long the town government was firmly in the hands of an organized crime syndicate led by Mayor Miller's shady associate, "Two-Gun Dick" Herwig. The center of this vice was Dixon (now Tenth) Street, notorious for its brothels, dance halls, gambling dens, slot machines, and speakeasies. Murder and robbery became commonplace. Illegal moonshine stills and home breweries flourished with the blessings of Herwig and his henchmen, including W. J. (Shine) Popejoy, the king of the Texas bootleggers. Acting on petitions and investigative reports, in the spring of 1927 Governor Daniel J. Moody sent a detachment of Texas Rangers under captains Francis Augustus Hamer and Thomas R. Hickman to remedy the situation. Although the rangers proved a stabilizing force and compelled many undesirables to leave town, Borger's wave of crime and violence continued intermittently into the 1930s and climaxed with the murder of District Attorney John A. Holmes by an unknown assassin on September 18, 1929. This episode prompted Moody to impose martial law for a month and send state troops to help local authorities rid the town of the lawless element. This goal was eventually achieved, but not before Ace Borger was shot to death by his longtime enemy Arthur Huey on August 31, 1934.
The Great Depression also helped to propel Borger from one era into another by the late 1930s. Although Phillips Petroleum and other companies profited from the fields around Borger, prices in oil and gas dropped, ending the boom. "Black dusters," augmented by soot from carbon black plants, turned day into night. "Okie" migrants, tractored off their foreclosed farms, were sometimes able to find jobs in the Borger plants and refineries. With the aid of the Work Projects Administration, streets were improved, and the boom shacks were replaced with permanent buildings. During World War II synthetic rubber and other petroleum products became important in the Borger area. The Hutchinson County Airport was constructed north of town in 1949. By the 1960s Borger was one of the largest centers for oil, carbon black, petrochemical production and supplies in the state. In 1969 Borger was designated an All-American city. The advent of Lake Meredith also added to the town's economy. The population was listed at 14,000 in 1943, 17,949 in 1950, 20,911 in 1960, 14,195 in 1970, and 15,837 in 1980. By 1980 Borger had 488 businesses, including several manufacturers. In 1990 the population was 15,675, and in 2000 it dropped to 14,302.
Borger remains an important shipping point for agricultural produce as well as for the petroleum products manufactured there. The community supports eight schools, fifty churches, two banks, two radio stations, twenty-four city parks, a library, a hospital, and Frank Phillips College, a junior college. The city's newspaper, the Borger News-Herald (formerly the Hutchinson County Herald), has been in business since 1926. The Hutchinson County Museum, opened in 1977, houses artifacts of the county's pioneer past. Borger is especially noted for its scale models of the buildings at Adobe Walls at the time of the 1874 battle The annual World's Largest Fish Fry is held in Borger each June.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). H. Gordon Frost and John H. Jenkins, "I'm Frank Hamer": The Life of a Texas Peace Officer (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). John H. White, Borger, Texas (1929?; rpt., Waco: Texian Press, 1973).

* DIAL, TX

Dial, also known as Gulf Dial, is on Farm Road 2277 southeast of Stinnett in central Hutchinson County. It was named for the Dial Ranch, on which it was established in 1925, when the Gulf Oil Company drilled its Dial No. 1 well, the first in the county north of the Canadian River. By 1926 a sizable oil town, complete with a post office, rose on the site. The improvement of highways and transportation facilities, however, which ended the oil subsidiary-camp system, led to the town's demise. By 1976 the post office had been discontinued. In the 1980s several wells at the site were still in production. Dial had a population estimated at eighty from 1968 to 1990.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. D. Bartlett, "Discovery of the Panhandle Oil and Gas Field," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 12 (1939).

* ELECTRIC CITY, TX

Electric City was established on the south bank of the Canadian River in south central Hutchinson County. It began in July 1926 with the construction of the Panhandle Power and Light Company's Riverview Power Plant, three miles north of Borger. Men worked day and night until the plant was completed, so that electricity could be made available to neighboring oilfields as soon as possible. The plant's turbines began turning in November. Soon a subsidiary camp grew around the facility as the county's oil boom gained momentum. Within weeks, plant employees and oilfield workers had formed a sizable settlement, complete with dirt streets. With the improvement of local highways and transportation, however, employees no longer found it necessary to live next to the plant. By 1948 Electric City's population numbered only five. The plant was owned by Southwestern Public Service by the mid-1980s. At that time there was no longer a population at the site, since the plant was an easy commute from Borger.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:  Bobby D. Weaver, ed., Panhandle Petroleum (Amarillo: Miller National Corporation, 1982).

* FRITCH, TX

Fritch, on State Highway 136 in southwestern Hutchinson County and partly in Moore County, was founded in an area owned in part by three ranchers: J. M. Sanford, J. H. Johnson, and Roy B. Wright. It was named for H. C. (Fred) Fritch of Chicago, a vice president of the Rock Island Railroad, who arranged for the purchase of the right-of-way in 1924. After the line was opened, Fritch established a depot at his townsite and in 1933 he laid out the streets parallel with the railroad, which ran from northwest to southeast. In the wake of the 1926 oil boom, five major gas companies located in the vicinity. The growth of Fritch was slow during its first thirty years; in 1940 it had a store, a post office, and an estimated population of seventy-five. However, the construction of Sanford Dam on the Canadian River prompted Fritch to incorporate in 1959. By the time of the dam's completion in 1965 the city had a population of 2,800, two schools, six churches, a bank, and retirement homes. This growth was attributed mainly to the recreation areas at Lake Meredith, in addition to ranching, farming, and the oil and gas industry.

In the late 1960s growth waned due to lagging oil and gas production. The population was 1,778 in 1970. In 1972 the Rock Island abandoned the line through Fritch. However, the energy crisis of the early 1970s fostered increased oil and gas activities. By 1980 Fritch had thirty-one businesses and a population of 2,299. The Lake Meredith Aquarium and Wildlife Museum, opened in 1976, features wildlife exhibits and live fish specimens from the lake. The town is also known for its flatland irrigation system, which uses treated sewer water. The National Park Service headquarters for Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is located in Fritch, and the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, on the southeastern shore of Lake Meredith, is near Fritch in Potter County. In 1990 the population in Fritch was 2,335, and in 2000 it dropped slightly to 2,235. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980).

LIEB, TX

Land for the establishment of Lieb Cemetery was donated by Will Blakey and W.O. Jarvis in the spring of 1902. A meeting was held for the purpose of building a schoolhouse, plans were made, and lumber was hauled by wagon from Channing. Completion of the school was in April 1903. A two month school term was held that spring. Classes were held at Lieb until 1929 when the district was consolidated with two new districts in Pringle and Morse.

* PHILLIPS, TX

Phillips is two miles northeast of Borger in south central Hutchinson County. Early in 1926, after oil was discovered in Hutchinson County, the pioneer rancher James A. Whittenburg sought to cash in on the coming boom by founding a community. He initially named the town Whittenburg, after himself. Whittenburg's townsite was eagerly promoted by P. R. Williams of Amarillo, who predicted a population of 10,000 within a year. Soon it had a next-door rival in the community of Pantex. The Phillips Petroleum Company completed its first plant in the Panhandle, the Alamo Refinery, at Pantex in 1927. As the company developed, the boomtown shanties and overcrowded rooming houses gave way to more permanent housing and other facilities for employees and their families, several churches, a hospital, and a progressive school system. In 1935 a new $77,000 school building replaced an earlier brick structure. In 1938 the townsites of Whittenburg and Pantex voted to merge under the name of Phillips. Railroad service for the refineries was provided by a spur of the Panhandle and Santa Fe line.

In 1947 the population of Phillips numbered 4,250. By that time the Frank Phillips Foundation had contributed thousands of dollars for scholarships for children of Phillips employees. The company also provided housing for teachers. After a fire razed the high school on March 19, 1950, classes were held in the Baptist and Methodist churches until the structure was rebuilt. In the 1950s and 1960s improved highways and faster local transportation resulted in the loss of most of the town's businesses to nearby Borger. By 1970 the Phillips post office had been discontinued. The population of Phillips decreased from 3,605 in 1960 to 2,515 by 1980, and the number of local businesses decreased as well. On January 20, 1980, a hydrocarbon explosion wiped out two gasoline-producing units and a steam-generating facility, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses in both Phillips and Borger. Nevertheless, Phillips survived as a residential area for company employees until Phillips Petroleum Company forced the remaining homeowners to remove or abandon their homes in August 1989. The refinery continues to grow, the school buildings are used for offices, but the town of Phillips is no longer.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], The Phillips, Texas, Story (Nazareth, Texas, 1982).

* PRINGLE, TX

 Pringle is at the intersection of Farm Road 1598 and State Highway 136, on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad nine miles north of Stinnett in northern Hutchinson County. It began in 1929 when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad built between Stinnett and Hitchland. The Pringle post office opened in 1929, and a school was organized that year. William H. Pringle, for whom the community is named, donated land for a school building. By 1933 Pringle had three businesses and a population of twenty. The post office closed about 1947, and the school was consolidated with the Morse schools in 1977. The population rose to sixty in 1947, dropped to forty-six in 1968, and has been estimated at forty from 1974 to 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980).

 * SANFORD, TX

Sanford, just south of the Canadian River in southwestern Hutchinson County, was named for J. M. Sanford, on whose ranch land it was established. It was founded in 1927 as a result of the county's oil boom when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway extended its Amarillo-Liberal line through this area. Sanford was populated largely by boomers and oil company employees. During its first year a post office, a lumber yard, a school, a cafe, and a two-story brick hotel were erected. Though many boomers later moved on to other areas, Sanford became a stable petroleum town. In 1933 Natural Gas Pipeline built what was then the largest compressor station in the world beside the railroad tracks seven miles southwest of Sanford. With further development of the Panhandle oil and gas field came the construction of three carbon black plants around Sanford. In addition, Henderson Trusts and Phillips Petroleum Company built two gasoline refineries there. In the early 1950s, after the carbon black plants were closed, Colorado Interstate Gas Company built its first compressor station at Sanford. In 1940 Sanford had five businesses and a population of sixty. With the advent of Sanford Dam and Lake Meredith in the 1960s, however, Sanford was incorporated and experienced new growth. The Sanford school district merged with that of Fritch in 1961. The 1980 census listed several small businesses in Sanford; the population was 249. In 1990 the population was 218. The population dropped to 203 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980).

SPRING CREEK ISD

The Spring Creek Independent School District is a public school district located in southeastern Hutchinson County, Texas. The district consists of a single campus, Spring Creek Elementary School, that serves students in grades pre-kindergarten through six. To boost enrollment, Spring Creek also accepts transfer students from outside of the district. Secondary students (grades 7-12) from Spring Creek attend school in one of three neighboring districts Borger, Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips, or White Deer.

The first Spring Creek School building was built in 1900, one year prior to the organization of Hutchinson County, on the Harvey Ranch. In its first year, there were a total of seven school-aged students, six males and one female, and six under school age for a total of 13. In 1901, the Hutchinson County Commissioners Court divided the county into four school districts, Spring Creek being named district #4. The school moved to several different locations until the 1930s, when a red brick school building was constructed. On March 8, 1938, the school was dedicated in a ceremony attended by approximately 500 people. The Spring Creek Independent School District was formed in 1949.

* STINNETT, TX

Stinnett, the county seat of Hutchinson County, is at the junction of State highways 152 and 207, in the central part of the county. It was established in the summer of 1926 to be a shipping point on the Amarillo branch of the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway. It was named for Albert Sidney Stinnett of Amarillo, who had helped purchase the right-of-way for the railroad. Within four months the town promoters, led by A. P. (Ace) Borger and J. T. Peyton, sold $400,000 worth of lots by holding special "Dollar Day" picnics for interested buyers. Almost overnight the population rose to around 2,500. In September 1926 the promoters petitioned for a special election that changed the Hutchinson county seat from Plemons to Stinnett. In 1927 the town was incorporated with a mayor-commission government. A post office was opened, and on December 15, 1928, the present county courthouse was dedicated.

 Stinnett was not a characteristic oil boomtown, however it profited greatly from the fields around neighboring communities, as well as from the railroad. Many residents who sought the "black gold" lived in boxcar shanties and canvas tents. Stinnett had its share of lawlessness and violence, for example, the shooting death of the notorious bootlegger W. J. (Shine) Popejoy at the city jail in 1933. During the Prohibition era many restaurants, rooming houses, and drugstores in town sold illegal whiskey and beer in their back rooms. In 1930, when the Great Depression hit and the price of crude oil fell, the population in Stinnett dropped to 500. The number of businesses decreased from seventy-five in 1928 to fewer than twenty in 1930. Nevertheless the town's school system, established in 192627, and several church congregations helped Stinnett to survive. The population increased from 635 in 1940 to 2,695 in 1960. Much of this growth resulted from the industrial development of natural gas and petroleum, which provided a new source of employment. In the 1960s the town reported eight churches, a school, a bank, a branch library, and a newspaper.

Although its boom days were past, Stinnett retained its importance as a commercial center for the surrounding grain-growing, oil, and ranching area. In the 1980s, under a mayor-council government, the town owned the fire department, ambulance service, and all public utilities except electricity, which was furnished by Southwestern Public Service. The Stinnett school system produced several outstanding athletes, most notably Donny Anderson, former National Football League star. The restored 1899 box-and-strip cottage of Isaac McCormick, the area's first settler, was made into a museum on the courthouse square. Although the population of Stinnett declined somewhat, 2,222 people were reported in the census of 1980. In 1990 the population was 2,166. The population dropped to 1,936 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). Jerry Sinise, Black Gold and Red Lights (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], The Stinnett, Texas, Story (Nazareth, Texas, 1974).


Webmaster Note:
The above information was gleaned from several sources including:
http://www.texasescapes.com
http://www.ghosttowns.com
http://www.txgenweb9.org/landmarks/hutchins.htm
http://www.tshaonline.org/
http://texashistory.unt.edu/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutchinson_County,_Texas

S
tatistics: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/48233.html
For genealogists --listing of cemeteries in Hutch Co 1900-1999: http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth25117/

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