|Soash under Construction
Vintage Photo by Bascom Reagan, courtesy Doyle
a Pecan Shell
Soash was established
and modestly named after "town builder" William Soash in 1909. Soash
contracted to buy thousands of acres of the Slaughter Ranch for his
land company. Soash moved to the Panhandle
from Iowa where he praised the land as fertile and the rainfall as
plentiful. In his first year he built a hotel to house prospective
buyers and a bank to house their money. In late December of 1909,
rancher Rufus Slaughter became the Soash postmaster.
Soash (the man) had a reputation to live up to - so in short order
the town had water, electricity and telephone service. But although
Soash planned for a cement block factory, a cannery and public parks,
his schemes were a bit too ambitious. Much of the land was unsuitable
for farming but the town might have survived this problem had it not
been for a severe three-year drought (1909-1912). To drive the final
nail in Soash's coffin, the Santa Fe Railroad chose to run six miles
west of town - dooming Mr. Soash's dream town. Most people left but
even the most hopeful of citizens were discouraged. Soash Land Company
went bankrupt in 1912 and three years later the population was down
to a mere 50. Another drought in 1917 spelled the end of Soash. The
post office closed in mid-1916, reopened in April of 1917 but closed
for good six months later. Remaining Soashers moved to Lamesa.
Today all that is left is the concrete bank - with a huge piece of
concrete hanging by a length of rebar.
"Soash is just about beyond renovation. The 1980 picture in Baker's
Ghost Towns of Texas shows the shell of the building fairly intact.
Now the front sill is gone with two huge slabs being held up with
only one piece of rusted rebar. Best advice is to stand clear."
Gibson, October 11, 2006
ruins in 2006
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, October 7, 2006
There are still Soash people there my parents Howard and Pearl Armstrong.
My dad, went to Soash elementary school there and to this day my parents
still live in eastern Soash community. They are not the only ones
that live there. Mammie Merrick lives across the street from the old
bank building. She and her deceased husband Bob Merrick, I believe
lived there almost their entire married life together. Bob passed
away earlier this year, but Mammie still lives there with one of their
8 children. All the rest has died or have moved away like I have done
in years past. But the Armstrongs and the Merricks will live there
until they die. Believe me I have tried to get my parents to move
closer to Big Spring,
but they are not leaving Soash, Texas. Thanks. - Diann Owens, June
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