in a Pecan Shell
Named after the railroad president, Roy Megargel, this
is a case where the town might seriously consider a name change. It's
not a name that is easily pronounced and therefore the town tends
to be forgotten.
The town dates from 1910. There is one main street with many brick
buildings, some of which have been destroyed by fire.
Megargel sprang up overnight, since large discounts were given to
people who developed their lots within 60 days. The town had 23 stores,
a bank, hotel and post office within 90 days of its founding.
Oil was discovered in the 1920s, but the boom wasn't nearly as big
as other towns. The high school is said to have the first high school
band in the State, for what that is worth. It began its decline in
1930 and the bank folded in 1941.
According to The Handbook of Texas, the Class of 1960 consisted
of five students, the same as 1918.
According to Sammy Tise's Texas County Sheriffs - The Archer
County Sheriff was killed in a shootout close to Megargel in August
of 1925. His name was E. Harrison Ikard and his wife Maude was appointed
to take his place after his death.
The town is not without charm, and it is a shame that the main street
storefronts are mostly closed.
A Drive Around Megargel - "A
very photogenic town." - Barclay Gibson
Megargel Texas Historical Marker
Megargel High School Gym - Another
Megargel Landmark - by Jamo C. Powell
Falls Hotels | More
Hotels - Megargel Area Hotels
|The closed 1927
Megargel High School
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2009
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2009
| 1927 Megargel
Bluebird Band Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2009
by Jamo C. Powell,
Colonel (Ret.) US Army,
Someone recently sent me an article written by Gwen Cook and
published in the Houston Chronicle October 18, 1997. Gwen, a former
Megargelite, wrote a wonderful article about the old Megargel watertower.
Like Gwen, I wish I could have been there to see it on that last day
when it was finally brought down. I only lived in Megargel during
my high school years, but that watertower with MEGARGEL written in
black, block letters across its silver colored tank is a lasting memory
The relatively flat topography of the area enabled one to see the
watertower from miles away and from just about any direction. I particularly
remember being able to see it while riding the schoolbus. We could
see and "home in" on the watertower for almost the entire four mile
bus ride. No question about it, the watertower was Megargel's most
prominent landmark (the highest, certainly) and one I assumed would
always be there. Now, some 45 years later, I marvel that it remained
a faithful beacon as long as it did.
When I first read Gwen Cook's article around Christmas time, it made
me think of another venerable Megargel landmark; one that had a very
sizable impact on me and virtually every other Megargel Mustang
for almost half a century. I toyed with the idea of writing about
it, but kept putting it off. Then, a week or so ago, I happened to
see a rerun of the movie "Hoosiers". This is a movie about
Basketball, folks -- and I mean basketball with a capital B. Indiana
takes its high school basketball very seriously and the movie did
a great job of presenting the hard work, pain and, if you win, elation
inherent to the game at that level.
As an aside, the fellow who played the high school principal in the
movie was Sheb Wooley. Sheb is best known for his hit song "The Purple
People Eater" and marrying a Megargel girl (whose name I can't recall,
So, Gwen's fine article about the old watertower, reinforced by a
strong dose of "Hoosiers", has inspired me to write a few words about
another important Megargel landmark -- the Megargel High School
When I first came to Megargel in 1950, the gym was only a couple of
years old. I have to admit, from the outside, it looked an awful lot
like a big tin barn (and still does). But inside that barnlike exterior
was the best looking and best playing basketball court for at least
50 miles in any direction. Pete Peterson, our wonderful coach, kept
the floor polished to perfection and woe be to anyone careless enough
to walk on it in street shoes. We were proud of our gym and when other
teams came to play in it for the first time, they were obviously impressed.
Most of them had to play in little crackerbox gyms where the out-of-bounds
lines were so close to the walls you could barely find room to stand
when you threw the ball in-bounds. Yes, we were truly blessed.
About 1950 Megargel stopped playing football. With our small student
body, it was just too difficult to field a competitive 11 man football
team. In recent years the Mustangs have returned to the gridiron via
the 6 man football route. I don't remember that being an option in
the early '50s. At any rate, in the absence of football, basketball
became our primary sports interest (for both boys and girls) and we
spent a great deal of our spare time in the gym "shooting baskets."
Even during the summer and on weekends you would usually find a few
cars or pickups parked outside the gym and a "pick-up" game going
on inside. All of this extracurricular practice, plus the fact that,
without football, we could start practicing basketball seriously as
soon as school started resulted in some pretty successful seasons
in the early '50s. Indeed, just like the kids in the "Hoosiers" movie,
we experienced a taste of elation a few times ourselves.. Most notable
of which was regularly beating Woodson (a particular nemesis of ours)
and winning District one year.
Let me hasten to add here that I was not one of our better players.
But even as a "sub", I took away some very rewarding and lasting memories
of Megargel High School basketball, my coach and teammates, and our
gym when I graduated in 1953.
We always had outstanding support from our families and other Megargel
residents; the gym was filled to capacity at every home game. Without
question the gym was the center of community activity and spirit during
basketball season. When you consider that literally thousands of students
and local residents have made use of this building since its erection,
you begin to realize just how important it has been to Megargel. I
have no idea what the future holds for this grand old gym, but I hope
it will continue to be around for a long time to serve the needs of
the school and community.
Every five years, I return to Megargel for our High School Reunion.
It is really a great day for all of us -- former students, parents
and our own children and grandchildren. We include five graduating
classes in our particular reunion. For example, the classes of 1950
thru 1955. Since our classes were so small (average size about 16
or 17), everybody knows everybody else at the reunion. I imagine we
all dread the day a little bit, wondering how well others will think
we've held up over the past five years. But, once there, that's all
forgotten. It's almost like going back in time as we see classmates
and rekindle old friendships once again.
One thing I always do sometime during that day is wander off toward
that old tin barn of a gym. I go inside and just stand there for awhile
thinking about other days. I notice that a lot of other reunion attendees
do also. It still looks pretty much the same inside. It's got glass
backboards now and the paint scheme is a little different, but the
floor is still polished brightly and looks as good as it did nearly
50 years ago. And I still take off my shoes before I shoot a basket
or two because even after so many years, I certainly wouldn't want
Coach Peterson (now deceased) to catch me with my shoes on.
© Jamo C. Powell
Originally published in the Olney Enterprise on April 9, 1998.
Book Hotel Here >
My high school years in Megargel were a watershed experience for me.
I didn't move there unitl my sophomore year and had been a "city kid"
prior to that time. I had to adjust to living and working on my father's
ranch, going to a small school, and not having many outlets for recreation
(except basketball). What I remember most fondly is the friendliness
and congeniality of the people -- all 300 of them at the time. They
were independent, no-nonsense hard workers who would give you the
shirt off their backs if they thought you needed it. They still are.
Whenever I go back to Megargel (and next door neighbor Olney) it's
a little like stepping back in time to the '50s. Everything looks
pretty much the same. The people still dress the same, still talk
the same, and still have the weather as the major topic of conversation
(as well they should because the weather is probably the biggest factor
in their success or failure as wheat farmers and ranchers). Nostalgia
smacks me right in the face whenever I return.
Megargelite? Well, I think that's the accurate term. I believe that's
what they still refer to themselves as.
By the way, if you look hard enough in James Mitchener's TEXAS, you'll
see Megargel mentioned in a couple of sentences -- something about
the population sign on the outskirts of town. I can't recall the exact
verbage. - Jamo C. Powell, Colonel (Ret.) US Army, Sarasota, Florida,
I'll always remember Megargel for the friendly wave I got driving
down the former main street. That doesn't happen as often as one would
think. And now I know that a resident is a Megargelite. - Editor,
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact