US 385, one mile N of McCamey
Founded 1926. Had
10,00 people in 1927. Named for Geo. B. McCamey, driller of discovery
well that by 1964 had led way to opening of 31 oil and gas fields
in Upton County.
(Discovery well is 2.3 miles north of town). Center for horse, sheep,
goat ranching. Has 5 parks. Home of Mendoza Trail Museum.
Erected by Upton County Historical Survey Committee.
|L-Mural of McCamey
R-Welcome to McCamey.
has recently commemorated the 75th anniversary of its founding with
some charming murals and signs designating the locations of the buildings/
businesses portrayed in the murals. Judging by the murals, a good
portion of McCamey has been razed.
The town sprang to life when a well was drilled by
George McCamey in 1925. Within six months, the population went from
a handful of people to 10,000. An attempt was made to capture oil
in a huge reservoir, but failed. McCamey then built the first oil
refinery in West Texas.
McCamey has windmills just to the SE of town. Not the common
West Texas windmills used to fill stock tanks, but huge modern blades
that generate electricity. McCamey thinks enough of these to include
them on their welcome sign.
Texas Attractions & Landmarks
: The old Santa Fe Depot is here and so are relics ranging from
prehistory to the oil boom that turned McCamey into a town. Juan
Dominguez Mendoza was a Spanish explorer.
Park : Shady spot at the town's eastern city limit.
Photo courtesy James Rowland, 2004
|A pumpjack in
Photo courtesy James Rowland, 2004
corner of McKinney and 11th St., McCamey
Site is "Old High
School," an outgrowth of 1920s oil boom. No school existed in McCamey
prior to 1925, when 20 students were taught in a tin shack on 5th
street. A year later school had 550 pupils in classes held in dance
halls, skating rinks and 2 churches. Desks and seats were apple and
orange crates. This building, erected in 1927, was community center
setting for weddings, funerals, meetings of Draft Board, other
activities. Used as high school until 1961. First superintendent,
C. V. Compton, set high goals which since have guided the schools.
corner of 11th and Burleson St., McCamey
House on the Corner
on site furnished by independent school district, to house McCamey
Girl Scout troops. First stone veneer structure in McCamey. Girl Scouts'
prized rock collections, plus stone hauled from Bobcat Hill by oil
firm trucks and others used in walls. Balcony woodwork is cedar from
nearby canyons. The entire town worked in a united effort to obtain
materials, erect house. Setting for many "cook-outs" and overnight
camps for Girl Scouts. Also served as social center for McCamey 1941-1959.
An extension was built in 1964.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1967i
by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
Following the 1925 discovery of shallow oil in what became the Yates
Field, McCamey grew from just a name printed on a plat to a town
of 10,000 by September 1926. With money flowing almost as freely
as gushing crude, Pansy’s circus troupe arrived and set up its big
top at the edge of town... Read
I was reading
the article on Girvin,
Texas. I grew up in McCamey and my dad worked at the Rio Pecos
power plant which was owned by West Texas Utilities Co. When I graduated
high school in 1970 I too started working at the plant. Part of
my job was to go to Girvin each day to Helmer’s store (next to the
Girvin Social Club in the pictures), and get the mail. At that time
it was the gas station, grocery store and post office. The social
club was then a café. I ate lots of hamburgers and chili there for
lunch. I understand now that the power plant has been shut down.
As the years go by it seems that another part of my life disappears.
Thank you for helping keep those memories alive. - Gary Staggs,
Little Rock, Arkansas, August 23, 2005
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact