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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Panhandle / Ghost Towns :

WHITEFLAT, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Motley County, Texas Panhandle
Highway 70
61 miles S of Clarendon
60 miles SW of Childress
10 miles N of Matador
41 miles NE of Floydada
90 miles NE of Lubbock

Population: 0003 (estimate)

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Motley County,  White Flat, Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
History in a Pecan Shell

Whiteflat was originally a Matador Ranch line camp. Either Bill Tilson or Mrs. H. H. Campbell named the town in 1899 for the abundant white needlegrass.The town was established between the geographic features of Willow Creek and Tom Ball Canyon.

By 1910 Whiteflat had a school and the population reportedly reached several hundred.

The high school dates from the 1920s when the town also had a cotton gin and post office.

According to the Handbook of Texas, "early families included the Tilsons, Bloodworths, Wilkinsons, Morrisses, and Kimbells."

The population was a mere 50 in the late 1940s - the period of increased mobility and school consolidations. The proximity of Matador was the biggest contributor to Whiteflat's decline. In 1980 the population was down to only 20 and the Texas highway map of 2000 shows an estimated population of three people.

The post office and all businesses have long been closed.
Whiteflat, Texas
The parsonage for the Methodist Church
Photo courtesy Jon M. Hager, 9-04
Motley County,  Whiteflat school , Texas
The old Whiteflat school. "It's now overgrown and horses are kept on the land behind the school building." - Jon M. Hager, 9-04 photo
Motley County,  Whiteflat school, Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
Whiteflat school entrance,  Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
Whiteflat school  sign, Texas
Close up view of Whiteflat school
Photo courtesy Jon M. Hager, 9-04
Whiteflat Texas welcome sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
Motley County - Whiteflat Tx Historical Marker
Whiteflat Historical Marker (On Hwy 70)
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
Historical Marker Text

Whiteflat

This area of Motley County was first called "White Flat" due to the tall white needlegrass which covered the flat prairie land. A post office, named Whiteflat, was established for the rural settlement in 1890 at the request of W.R. Tilson.

At its height, the community boasted four grocery stores, three service stations, three garages, two cafes, a hardware store, two gins, and three churches. A school, first housed in a one-room schoolhouse built by volunteers, opened in 1890. It was replaced by a four-room school in 1908, and in 1922 a new two-story brick structure was erected. It also served as a community gathering place.

Dependent on an economy based on agriculture and small family farms, the community began to decline as a result of the depression and dust bowl years of the 1930s. The Whiteflat school closed in 1946, when it was consolidated with Matador schools. The local churches disbanded in the 1960s; the post office closed in 1966 following the death of the last postmaster, Ida Morris; and the last remaining retail business, a grocery store and service station closed in 1968.
Motley County Texas 1907 Postal map
1907 Motley County Postal map showing Whiteflat.
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
PHOTOGRAPHER'S NOTE

I happened across Whiteflat while driving back from a hiking trip with my son Erich (Labor Day weekend). Whiteflat is in the panhandle (Motley County) on highway 70 between Turkey and Matador.

The current local population can't be more than a handful as I saw only one home that looked as if it might be occupied (though we did not explore the area very long).

I've provided copies of three of the photos I took during our visit.
- Jon M. Hager Grand Prairie, Texas, September 12, 2004
Motley County, Whiteflat Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007

Whiteflat, Texas Forum

  • White Flat, Texas
    My grandfather, William W. Pierce, rented a farm near White Flat sometime between 1918 and 1925. He and his older sons, my uncles, raised cotton until a barn fire destroyed the harvest they were storing there, waiting for better prices. They later moved to Floydada, where my mother met my father in 1929. My aunt, Mae (Pierce) Griggs, who died in January of 2005 at the age of 97, told me three things about [those] time[s] at White Flat:
    1. The school hired some local boys to drive to the surrounding farms in a covered wagon to bring the children to school.
    2. The school did not have a storm shelter. Instead there was a large ditch next to the building. If a tornado was sighted the students and teachers would lie down in the ditch.
    3. Airplanes were extremely rare in this region at the time. One day one flew over the school. The teachers allowed all the students to run outside to see it. - Thomas Maddux, September 23, 2006

  • Whiteflat, Texas
    I grew up in Whiteflat and the white building was the parsonage for the Methodist Church which I attended in the 1950 until it closed in the 1960.

    The old school building was used in the 50's and 60's to hold elections and I can remember attending a Halloween haunted house there put on by the Home Demonstration Club.

    The Baptist Church was behind the school building. If you go west on the dirt road, you will come to the Whitflat Cemetery. - S. Alexander, June 10, 2005

  • Subject: White Building
    Perhaps this building was a business or government building before mid 1930, but I really believe it was the parsonage for the Methodist Church. I have been inside the house and cannot imagine it serving any purpose other than a residence. - Earle Price, May 22, 2005


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