Birth of a Texas Ghost Town
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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When I was sixteen and seventeen years old in Odessa, Texas, I was in Mary Jane Gentry’s American history class. Th at was at Odessa High School in 1964–65. As a teacher, she was hard; I mean, really hard. It was difficult to make an A. And for those who didn’t want...
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In 1975, when I was a graduate student about the age that Mary Jane Gentry was in the 1940s, I discovered her never-published history of Thurber. As a research associate in the History of Engineering Program at Texas Tech University, I was helping undertake a statewide inventory of ...
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Born in Boston, the daughter of a Texan father and a Canadian mother, Mary Jane Catherine Gentry became the historian of Thurber, perhaps the best known Texas ghost town. Her narrative, completed in 1946 though never published during her lifetime, served as the...
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pp. xxxix- xl
For nearly fifty years, Thurber was known as one of the most colorful towns in the Southwest. It was noted for its coal mines, enormous horseshoe bar, badger fights, and grappo. Immigrants, from all parts of Europe...
Chapter 1 Introduction
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As one travels eastward from Ranger, Texas, along Highway 80, the scenery is rather commonplace until one reaches the eastern edge of the mountain, overlooking a great valley which is divided among three counties...
Chapter 2 Coal and Brick
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Thurber coal and Thurber brick were well known throughout the state of Texas, and even though coal mining was the chief industry of the area, the production of brick was of importance too. Both industries were developed by the ...
Chapter 3 Labor Difficulties
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It was in December, 1886, that the Johnson Company opened Mine #1 on the site later known as Thurber. The working force for two years was composed principally of men who had been at Coalville1 where the ...
Chapter 4 Texas Pacific Mercantile & Manufacturing Company
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The role of the T.P.M. & M. Company was an important one in the history of Thurber. The Texas & Pacific Coal Company gave the miners an opportunity to earn money, and the T.P.M. & M. Company gave the miners an opportunity to ...
Chapter 5 Living Conditions
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Officials of the Texas & Pacific Coal Company planned to build what they hoped would be a permanent camp around their new coal mines. Within a few years, hundreds of houses were constructed, and water and light ...
Chapter 6 Recreation
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Recreational activities in Thurber were more colorful than those of any nearby town. Why shouldn’t they be? Thurber’s population was drawn from at least twenty different countries, and each group of people carried ...
Chapter 7 Foreign Population
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Thurber depended primarily on foreign population to mine its coal; there were some negro miners and a few Mexican miners, but Europeans exceeded any other group in numbers. Some of these ...
Chapter 8 Abandonment
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The gradual abandonment of Thurber began immediately after the coal mines were closed in 1921. From then until 1937, the process of dismantling and abandoning ...
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Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 16 b&w photos. 2 tables.
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities