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  Texas : Towns A-Z / Texas Panhandle :

Texas Ghost Town
BACK CITY , TEXAS

Site of the Back No. 1 Oil and Gas Gusher in 1927

by Delbert Trew

Gray County, Texas Panhandle
Located on Texas Highway 273
Nine miles North of McLean, Texas
I-40 Exit 141

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Amarillo Hotels

History in a Pecan Shell

The Back community began in 1904 with the arrival of J. D. Black who purchased 640 acres of land at $5 per acre. The family arrived in Amarillo on an "emigrant car" and traveled to their new home by wagon. They built a three-room frame home an raised cotton, corn and watermelons.

In 1899, a rural school was established nearby and later moved because of periodic flooding. In 1903, the school building was torn down and all material stolen. Though part of the materials were found, no charges were filed.

A new, larger, brick school opened in 1904 with all community activities taking place there. Church, baseball games, picnics and ice-skating in winter were some of the activities. A prolonged drought and recession slowed growth until 1927 when oil was discovered on Black land bringing in a gusher spouting oil high above the wooden derrick and flowing at an estimated 6,000 barrels a day.

Immediately, many acres were plotted for "Back City" with the first business being a filling station built by Clyde Holloway. A larger school was added and the future of Back City seemed destined to grow. Sadly, a new railroad and petroleum refinery were located some miles to the north and the hopes of Back City residents never materialized.

Today, only the foundations of Back City are visible to passing visitors and the Back gusher played out after producing for many years. The foundation for the pump jack and outbuildings along with a little ju8nk mark the location of the original oil discovery.

Delbert Trew

Back City, Texas Forum

Anyone wishing to share history or photos of Back City, Texas, please contact us.

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