|Bird's eye view
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
a Pecan Shell
The name has nothing
to do with the country of Iran. Oil was discovered on the ranch of
Ira Yates and a contest was held to name the town that would soon
materialize. Ira's wife was named Ann. The person who combined the
two names won a town lot as a prize. (See
Iraan today has two newspapers. But as an Iraanian told us (in a confidential
tone) "It's the same news." We bought both papers. It was the same
news. Different photos though.
Because of its semi-remote location, the school district provides
its teachers with housing.
Iraan is also the birthplace of Alley
Oop, at onetime an extremely popular syndicated comic strip.
Hamlin was a newspaperman in Iraan when he came up with the idea
for a caveman who looked like he was wearing bellbottoms when he wasn't
even wearing pants. While virtually unknown now, Alley
Oop was nearly as popular as Dick Tracy and Tarzan.
Mr. Oop had a dinosaur named Dinny and there is a likeness
of both Alley Oop and Dinny at the 7 acre Fantasyland just
west of town amid mulberry trees.
Also in the park is the Iraan Archeological Museum. (See
Iraan Chamber of Commerce: 915-639-2232
| West Texas wildlife
in Iraan's Park
Oop is a Texan? by C. F. Eckhardt
Alley Oop, the cave-man character created by Victor T. Hamlin in
1932, is a native Texan. The area around present Iraan, Texas was
a gold mine of dinosaur fossils. In the days before salvage archaeology,
the fossils were simply hauled away by the truckload. This gave
Hamlin the idea for a comic strip... more
T. Hamlin & Alley Oop by C. F. Eckhardt
Boy With Two Tombstones
Or Iraan's “Little Boy Lost.” by Mike Cox
A broken piece of sandstone can’t tell a story, but Edna (Snooks)
Collett sure can. Collett is curator of the museum in the still-booming
old boom town of Iraan, in the middle of the storied Yates Field,
which is well past its billionth barrel of oil and still producing.
Of course, her museum duties are only from 1-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday...
Iraan Archaeological Museum Mrs. Edna Collett
I was born in Iraan & grew up in McCamey.
Alley Pop Park & the museum was always a real treat. I was really
hoping to view some Native American artifacts found locally by my
brother-in-law, Otis Tipton. He grew-up in Iraan & donated his collection
to the museum. My mother & I entered & met Mrs. Edna (Snooks) Collett,
the curator. Her son, James, taught Texas History & sponsored the
Texas Historians club at MHS. I went straight to the artifact section
dying to really study the items that Otis had pulled out of his
canvas bag & unwrapped so carefully at their kitchen table 40+Years
ago.. I was really young & my sister, Claudette, would put me back
to bed & I'd have to wait till the next day to see it all. I can
still see the amazing smile on his face & hear the excitement in
his voice, while he & Claudette poured over his new finds. To my
disappointment, there weren't any of Otis' collection acknowledged
in the displays then.
Learning about my objective, Mrs. Collett looked through some cabinets,
but often pieces from a collection might be scattered by type throughout
a section. Only a search through the archives would verify the donor
& location. I was disappointed, but then I got to go back & marvel
over the incredible artifacts & fossils on display! There were pictures
of excavations in process. She said they were fortunate to have
such a dedicated group of area volunteers who shared an acute interest
in preserving these rock records & made the phenomenal collection
available. I saw pictures of John Alexander at a site & incredible
pieces he donated. It was only a few years before that I discovered
he & I had shared mutual friends in Missouri! I was buying a calendar
displaying the work of their knapping group. Looking through It,
they mentioned that that after years of their oldest member running
circles around them, "Woosh/Swoosh" had missed a couple of knap-ins
& he was truly missed. He said his work was featured in the calendar.
I saw a tiny picture & I said I know him-he's a runner of Sr Olympics,
marathon or 400m or 1600m, but he races. Then I moved my thumb from
over his bio. He was from McCamey!
I explained that Mr, Alexander trained on the outside lane of our
track every day during PM practice! He was always at the track.
Over the years in Missouri, I'd heard them talk about him & his
work, but he was so humble & just a great guy who never walked but
ran every where! The only" it's a small world" experience I've ever
had. Of course, Mr. Alexander & Mrs. Collett were good friends through
archeology. Mom & I spent the most wonderful afternoon with Mrs.
Collett! We sorted fresh buckets of fossils, that she loves giving
out to visiting classes. Hoping to spark interest! She gave me 3
for my help. I was grateful because she wouldn't sell them & mine
had got lost in time & another reason for my visit It was my pleasure
getting to just look through them & talk rocks with someone so knowledgeable
that shares my passion. She is a true gem & the museum is a real
treasure! We enjoyed the rest of the rest of the displays & we picked
some souvenirs & it was time to close. I was doubly glad they were
such nice people, when I discovered my keys were locked in in my
car! God bless her & the other volunteer & locals who helped us
get on our way! Thank you so much! I'm forever grateful! - LeeAnn
Mettlach, April 04, 2016
Naming of Iraan, TX
Regarding Iraan, Texas and the "History in a Pecan Shell": My father,
Jo Hardgrave, told my brother and sister, that his mother named
the town of Iraan by submitting the combining of the names Ira and
Ann Yates and that she won a downtown plot of land that she sold
for $1,000.00. According to the first paragrah, this is true. I'm
just wondering if you have record of the name of the person winning
the contest. My grandmother's name was Mary Louise (Lewis) Hardgrave.
If you have any information regarding this I would appreciate it.
Thank you - Carol Bennett, San Angelo, TX, October 12, 2006
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