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Presidio County TX
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Texas Ghost Town
Presidio County, West Texas

Shafter Historic Mining District
on the National Register of Historic Places

29į 49' 13" N, 104į 18' 12" W (29.820278, -104.303333)

On Cibolo Creek
Highway 67
18 miles N of Presidio
43 miles S of Marfa the county seat
ZIP codes 79843
Area code 432
Population: 11 Est. (2000)

Shafter Area Hotels › Alpine Hotels

Shafter Texas mainstreet  1930s
Shafter main street in the 1930s.
Photo courtesy William G. Howell
See Shootout at Shafter

History in a Pecan Shell

Shafter became a mining town in 1880, when John W. Spencer discovered silver ore.

Spencer showed a sample to Col. William R. Shafter, commander of Fort Davis, who had it assayed. Shafter shared the information with two of his fellow officers. They then convinced the state to allow them to buy huge tracts of school land around the site in 1880. The three made Spencer a partner (at least verbally) but although they now owned the land, they lacked the capital to mine the silver.

In 1882 they leased some of their holdings to a California mining group. A new company - The Presidio Mining Company was formed. In 1884, the company installed new machinery and the town of Shafter was born.

The post office was granted in 1885.

One partner sued when the company started mining on land deeded under his wife's name. The case went to the Texas Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the mine over the disgruntled partner in 1887. Operations increased and Shafter became a full-fledged "company town" with the miners totally dependent on the company.

Shafter only had 110 people around 1900. The mine closed and reopened several times throughout the 20s and 30s.

By 1943 Shafter's population had grown to 1,500 with the economy buoyed by nearby Cavalry Fort D. A. Russell and Marfa Army Air Field. When the posts were closed at the end of WWII, the population shrank to only 20.

The town was used for early scenes of the 1968 science fiction movie "The Andromeda Strain".

Shafter, Texas mine, 1980s
Shafter mine in the 1890s
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com

Shafter, Texas post office
The Shafter post office as it once appeared in Texas Highways Magazine.
Photo courtesy TXDoT
(date unknown.)

Shafter TX - Post Office  Building
Shafter TX 78950
"The building remains sans post office."

Photo courtesy rangerbob
[ Shootout at Shafter ]

Shafter, Texas Today

TX - Shafter Cemetery
Photo courtesy Travis Peterson, December 2018

Shafter TX - Howell Package Store
The Howell Package Store
Photo courtesy Travis Peterson, December 2018

Shafter, Texas old stores
Old Store fronts

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005

Shafter, Texas
Howell Package Store

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005

Shafter, Texas
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005

Shafter, Texas ruins
Nature reclaiming Shafter

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005

Shafter, Texas
Another view

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005

Shafter, Texas hill side ruins
Spring in Shafter

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005

Shafter Chronicles:

Shootout at Shafter by William G. Howell
As a child I always heard the story of my grandfather killing a Texas Ranger in Shafter, Texas. Although it was said to be in self defense, he was almost being lynched for it... more

Elephant Rock near Shafter Texas
Elephant Rock near Shafter
Photo courtesy William G. Howell
Shafter Area Hotels - Book Here
Alpine Hotels | Van Horn Hotels
Shafter, Texas Forum
  • Subject: Shafter Texas area history
    A Texas Ranger, George "Red" Bingham was killed near Shafter in the Chinati mountains on July 3 1880 by the Jesse Evans gang. Jesse Evans was a friend of Billy the Kid and he was charged and convicted of his killing. Supposedly Bingham was buried near Shafter or in that area along with a member of the Evans Gang who was also killed that day. See this article

    This article is wrong in that Jesse was not part of Billy's gang, if anything Billy started out with Jesse's Gang "The Boys" in New Mexico a few years earlier.

    Anyway thought you might want to add this to Shafter history. I don't know if Texas Ranger Bingham is still buried around the Shafter area or not. - Paula, December 26, 2018

  • Subject: Schafter, Texas History
    I've learned my paternal grandfather was born in Schafter, Texas. His name was Nicomedez "Nick" Juaquez Sosa born Oct 15, 1989 to Bonifacio Sosa and Eleuteria Juaquez. He later married my paternal grandmother, Isabel "Chavela" Sanchez Barraza on Aug 9, 1922. She was born on July 9. 1910 in Ojinago, Mexico to Antonio Barraza and Candelaria Sanchez. She became a Naturalized U.S. citizen on Aug 8, 1922 and registered to vote on Oct 4, 1954. If anyone has any other information on either grandparent would be greatly be appreciated. - Angie Sosa Ramos, May 07, 2018

  • Subject: Shafter Texas
    Iím with Rio Grande Mining Company and we are in the process of re-opening the Shafter Silver Mine. We are also working on re-opening the old company store as a coffee shop/museum. - Sandy Bruce, September 27, 2012

  • Family History in Shafter
    I was born in Shafter Texas in March 1942. A lot of my family history was in that town. My grandfather Macedonio Carrillo Sr immigrated from Mexico in the 1900s. He married my grandmother Refugia Ramirez whose family lived there also. My grandfather Macedonio had 4 children there. My father's name was Antonio Carrillo who was Macedonio's son. Both men worked in the silver mines. My grandfather got sick from working in the mines and passed away. When the mines close my family moved to Big Spring, Texas. I was born in 1942 in Shafter Texas. My full name is Yolanda Medrano Carrillo now Payne. I am doing a family tree and click on the history of Shafter and was real amazed. 3 of my other sibling were also born there. My great Uncle Reyes Carrillo got a job with the City and stayed there till about 20 years ago. He raised all his family there also. On my grandmother side the Ramirez I understand there is more history also. The Ramirez also migrate from Mexico to Shafter. Refugia's father was Bivian Ramirez who I understand was a real cowboy. Bivian Ramirez dad was Francisco Ramirez. As I start tracing the family roots many of them lead to Shafter, Presidio, and Ojinaga. I want to leave my children this legacy. - Yolanda Carrillo Payne, February 14, 2012
  • Shafter /Presidio
    I can solve the murder of Joseph H Diamond's grandfather. Mr Diamondís grandfather was murdered in Presidio, TX in 1952, I was living in Presidio then. There is a book about Arthur Hill, Texas Ranger entitled Law on the Last Frontier by S.E. Spinks which tells of Ranger Hillís life. Hill investigated the murder of Joe Kalmore and the story is one of many in the book. The names of the people are in the story and they were wax smugglers from Ojinaga, Mex.

    By the way Shafter is coming to life as they are going to reopen the silver mine, hiring 150 people. - John C Darst, April 14, 2011
  • Shafter and Unsolved Murder in Presidio
    My Grandfather arrived in Shafter Texas in 1924 and opened The New York Store selling dry goods to the townspeople. He purchased two lots in the town with the intention of making Shafter his home. My Mother, born in 1927, spent the first three years of her life there. In 1930 my Grandfather, Grandmother and Mother moved to Presidio along with the store and changing the name to The Joseph H. Kalmore Company. Grandad ran the store in Presidio until 1952.

    In 1947 my Grandmother passed away in Ojinaga, Mexico from cancer. My Mother married in 1948 and moved to El Paso to raise her family. After her passing in 2000 the land in Shafter was passed on to me. I have been seeking more information regarding my Grandfather. He was murdered during a robbery at his store in July of 1952. No one was ever brought to justice for the crime. My Mother was his only child and she was devastated by the crime and could not bring herself to return to Presidio, although she did talk about returning a year before her death. I have visited Shafter several times and find it's surroundings and history very interesting. Shafter is a real gem in the rough. - Joseph H. Diamond, El Paso, Texas,, December 30, 2006

  • Shafter's Silver Mine
    It was very interesting to see some information concerning Shafter, Texas. My mother, Eliza Duke was born there in 1914. She had two older brothers (David Duke and Alfred Duke) that worked in the silver mines. My grandfather was Frank Duke Jr. who married Fausta Hernandez. My great grandfather, Frank Duke Sr. married Estanislada Hernandez. I will probably visit that area some time next year and will try to get additional information to include.- Ernest M. Perez, San Angelo, December 09, 2006

  • I read with much interest an article about Shafter. I was born there in 1940, my father was a minister there preaching to the Mexican worker families. Are there any records of a congregation or church (Assembly of God)? Dad's name is Santos Becerra. - Santos Becerra Jr. San Angelo, Tx., December 27, 2003
  • *You got the wrong movie being made in Shafter in 1968. It was "The Andromeda Strain." I was there when it was made -- living in Presidio, but watched with interest as Shafter transformed into a movie set.

    There is a funny story that occurred during the making of "The Andromeda Strain". An old woman from Presidio, Ma Daniels, was driving down the Presidio highway and spotted the activity in Shafter. She drove thru the set where "dead" people were tied to buzzards who were feasting, scattering buzzards and people and really messing up the set. Ma, included in a book or two, was one of the larger than life characters from Presidio/Big Bend. ... - Martha Rhea, June 13, 2002

  • Presidio County TX 1940s Map
    Presidio County 1940s map showing Shafter,
    Casa Piedra, Plata and region
    ( Below "S" in "P-R-E-S-I-D-I-O")

    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip
    West Texas

    Shafter, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Marfa the county seat
    Presidio | Alpine | Van Horn

    See Presidio County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Alpine Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent/vintage photos, please contact us.












































































































































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