Winkler County Historical Markers
Winkler County
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Historical Markers
Blue Mountain
TX-302, 17 miles E. of Kermit
Winkler County's highest point (3500 Ft.), Blue Mountain has long served as a lookout and landmark on the west Texas plains. Here Indians found fuel, sheltering caves, and water. They left artifacts in the caves and pictographs on the cave walls that boasted their prowess as horse wranglers, hunters, and fishermen. A directional sign told of a water hole nine days by trail to the northeast. Pictographs also told the story of a fight between two lizards. The pass is called Avary Gap for John Avary, who first settled the area in 1880
Colonel C. M. Winkler
Poplar St. & Winkler St., courthouse square
Native North Carolina. Start of Civil War, organized and took company 150 men to join Confederate army in Virginia. Unit made part 4th Texas Infantry of famed Hood's Brigade. Rose to command regiment as lt. colonel. Fought with famous unit in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee. Distinguished himself second Manassas, wounded at Gettysburg. Surrendered with General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox
Community Church
302 S. Poplar St.,
50 years of camp meetings, circuit riders, singings and Sunday Schools at ranches or schoolhouses filled settlers' religious needs. In 1928, when this church was organized, its sanctuary was 1910 courthouse, bought for a dollar. Present edifice--first brick building in Kermit--is on site of that first church, and was built by generous ranchers after oil discovery. Dedicated 1938. First resident pastor was C.Y. Butler
Kermit Historical Marker
E. city limits, W. side TX-302, Kermit
County Seat of Winkler County. Organized in 1910. Incorporated in 1938. Name for Kermit Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had visited a local ranch. One of the top oil and gas producing counties in state. Ranch center. Gateway to New Mexico
Kermit's Oldest Home
Pioneer Park, Tommy Thompson Rd.,
Built by county clerk, 1910. (year Winkler County was organized). Owned by Mosleys Bairds
Means Methodist Church
Organized in 1970 by circuit preacher F.T . Pollard and seven charter members. The group held services in local school until 1912, when a one-room church was built, financed by donations of members, including a generous gift from rancher J.S. Means. All denominations were allowed to worship in this early structure. In 1944 the church (located 2 blocks W, 4 blocks S. of here, on main St.) burned and members once again met in the school. Present building was finished in 1946; educational building in 1955; and the modern sanctuary, capable of seating 700, in 1957
Moorhead Cable Tool Rig
Pioneer Park, Tommy Thompson Rd.,
Last wooden oil derrick in U.S. to retire from daily use. Drilled Moorhead No. 1 well on Chapman-McAlvane lease, Loving County. Has bull wheels and rig irons of type not made since 1920s. However, in its day it made deep drilling possible. Pump was steam-driven until 1942, when 4-cylinder gasoline engine began to run the "Yo-Yo" wheels and walking beam. Well was put on electric pump, 1966. Given by R.O. Moorhead to city of Kermit, as a Permian Basin oil empire history exhibit, rig was moved 35 miles to this site without being dismantled
Old Duval Townsite
TX-302, 1 miles W. of Kermit
First post office in Winkler (then part of Tom Green) County opened near here (1908) on John Howe ranch. Mail came in twice weekly to serve 300 persons. Duval townsite, promoted all over the United States by the Pueblo Investment Vo., opened on March 19, 1910, with free lots, a picnic, and cowboy tournament. In April, Kermit became seat of Winkler County; post office moved there in October. Duval failed to develop and townsite rights were canceled after 1928 oil discovery here. Ownership of many valuable lots sold in 1910 is still unclear today
Old Wink Cemetery
Burial site of 26 persons who died during the early days of the oil boom, 1926-1929. Shifting sands over the years have erased all vestige of the graves. "We carved not a line, we raised not a stone, but left him alone" Wolfe
Sand Hills
N. of Jct. TX-115 & FM-874, 8 miles NE of Kermit
Mapped by U.S. Government, 1849, for gold seekers and settlers. Known earlier to Indians and many Spanish explorers. A 100-mile belt of sand in Winkler and 4 other Texas counties and in New Mexico. Width varies from 3 to 20 miles; outer dunes are held by dwarf oaks. Water at 2' depth supports willows, cottonwoods, and a plum thicket. (The plums gave food to early settlers.) Many dunes more than 70' high. Heavy, shifting sands a natural barrier to travel. Campsite and game reservation for Indians. Now part of expansive cattle ranges and rich oil fields
Texas Territorial Compromise of 1850
TX-18 @ state line, N. of Kermit
Four miles east of this site is an official corner post marking agreement of Texas to give up some of the land won in her 1836 war for independence. It also marks New Mexico's southeast corner. When Texas was annexed to the United States, 1846, her territory included 98,300 square miles now in the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming. After the Mexican War (fought 1846-1848, over the annexation), anti-slavery forces in the U.S. sought to trim the size of Texas, a slave state. To raise money and establish a definite boundary, Texas accepted the compromise of 1850 and agreed to give up a third of her area in return for payment of $10,000,000. The money paid debts of the former Republic of Texas, set up a $2,000,000 public school fund, and erected state buildings, including a new capitol (which subsequently burned in 1881). By the 1850 compromise, the western boundary of Texas follows the 103rd meridian south from 36 30'; near here intersects the 32nd parallel, then goes west along the parallel to the Rio Grande. The corner marks not only a peaceable boundary pact, but also shows an unbroken stretch of Permian Basin lands, unified in geography and common goals
Willow Springs
TX-18, 12 miles S. of Kermit
6.6 miles east in Sand Hills. Water hole vital to Comanche, explorer. "Judge" A. Hayes found charred remains of 40-wagon train massacre in 1901. Ox bows, human bones, flintlocks, other relics of the ill fated and unidentified group in Sul Ross State College Museum at Alpine
TX-115 & 3rd St.
On land ruled up to 1874 by Comanche Indians, later part of famed "W" cattle ranch. Town "born" in 1926 when Roy Westbrook's Permian Basin oil discovery 1.5 miles to the north brought in 10,000 to 20,000 people, initiated area's conversion to industrialization. Named for Col.C.M. Winkler, famed Texas Confederate soldier
Winkler County Courthouse
110 E. Winkler St.
Built in 1929-30 in response to the need for a larger courthouse after the discovery of oil in the county in 1926, this replaced a 1910 structure on the same site. Designed by architect David Castle, the four-story classical revival/beaux arts building features distinctive two-story classical columns, decorative double-door surrounds and transoms, and paired and triple windows on the second and third floors. A one-story addition was built in the 1950s
Winkler County Discovery Well
TX-115, Park opposite city hall
First of 612 Wells in Hendrick Field, a very prolific, 10,000 acre west Texas oil pool. This area, called "Wildcatters' graveyard", lay on the 30,000 acre T.G. Hendrick ranch. Drillers Roy A. Westbrook & Associate leased land at 10 cents an acre. Well arrived dramatically, in great blasts of oil and rock, about midnight, Sept. 3, 1926. Its eventual depth was 3,049 feet. Total production when plugged in 1939 was 235,000 barrels. Data gathered here was vital in future drilling of El Capitan reef lime, a major oil-bearing geologic formation
Winkler County
FM-874 W of TX-115, Sand Hills Park, 8 miles N. of Kermit
Formed from Tom Green County; created February 26, 1887. Organized April 5, 1910. Named in honor of C.M. Winkler, 1821-1882. Statesman, soldier and jurist. Kermit, the county seat a petroleum producing and cattle raising area
Copyright 2010
Contact: Jane Colmenares