of Texas Online:
the county seat of Briscoe
County, is on State Highway 86 in the central part of the county.
In August 1890 Thomas J. Braidfoot filed claim on the section of land
that would later contain Silverton. He soon built a house in the area.
In the spring of the following year he and his associates, most of
whom had arrived from Della Plain in Floyd
County, formed a townsite company. The name, submitted by his
wife, was reportedly derived from the silvery reflections of the shallow
lakes in the area. A post office, three stores, a blacksmith shop,
and a school were established
by the fall of 1891. Thomas J. Briscoe started the first newspaper,
the Silverton Light. When the county was organized, a special election
was held on March 15, 1892, in which Silverton beat out two rival
townsites, Linguish and Tarlton, as the county seat. A two-story,
frame courthouse was erected in 1893. The following year a jail built
of stone from Tule Canyon was completed; its first occupant was the
county sheriff, Miner Crawford, who was jailed as a joke during the
opening ceremony. Tom Braidfoot's two-story house served as the town's
first hotel. A community church was used by various denominations
until they built their own houses of worship.
Silverton quickly prospered as a trade center for area ranchers and
farmers. The population was 400 in 1900 and 500 in 1910. The first
bank was opened in 1909, and a new brick schoolhouse was constructed
in 1911. The town has had several newspapers, including the Silverton
Enterprise and the Silverton Star. The present paper, the Briscoe
County News, has been in operation since 1912. The present
county courthouse was built in 1922. Mail was brought to Silverton
from Tulia by stagecoach before
1928, and later by automobile. In 1928 the town became the northern
terminus of the Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway from Lubbock.
Silverton was subsequently incorporated, and it grew. Natural gas
was introduced in 1929 by the West Texas Gas Company. By 1940 Silverton
had thirty-five businesses and a population of 684.
Throughout its history Silverton has suffered from prairie fires,
grasshoppers, dust storms, and cyclones. Its worst disaster occurred
on the night of May 15, 1957, when a tornado killed twenty-one people
and did over $1 million worth of damage. The citizens quickly rebuilt,
and Silverton has continued as an agribusiness center. Clay products
and irrigation supplies are manufactured locally. The population increased
from 857 in 1950 to 1,164 in 1964 but has declined since then. In
1985 the town had a hospital and a clinic. A new junior high school
building was built in the late 1970s. The Briscoe County Historical
Society operates a small museum in the county courthouse basement.
A small airfield is located east of town, and Haynes Boy Scout Camp
is in the canyon breaks eight miles to the east. The annual Briscoe
County Birthday celebration is held on the second weekend in August.
In 1984 Silverton had a population of 918 and twenty-seven businesses.
In 1990 the population was 779. The population was 771 in 2000."
H. Allen Anderson, “Silverton, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed
September 09, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/silverton-tx.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Attraction & Landmarks
view off the "caprock" into canyonlands and distant valleys.
Photo courtesy Eric Blackwell, November 2006
the Texas Travel Guide, Hwy 86 and 207 North are noted for
being scenic drives.
between Silverton and Claude crosses
Palo Duro and Tule Canyons.
Duro Canyon State Park
reveals the Eastern edge of the Great Plains in a dramatic change
10 miles Northwest of Silverton via Hwy 86 brings you to Tule Canyon
and the 900 acre lake. RV Hookups and fishing.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact