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OLNEY, TEXAS

Young County, Panhandle / North Central Texas
Highways 132, 114, 251, and 79 and FMs 210 and 3329
13 Miles N of Newcastle
26 Miles NW of Graham
18 Miles S of Archer City
Population: 3,292 (2010) 3,396 (2000)

Book Hotel Here > Graham Hotels
Olney Texas garzebo and mural
Downtown Olney mural depicting oil boom
Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007

History in a Pecan Shell

The community is said to be named after Grover Cleveland's Secretary of State or some incident of local interest that occurred at Olney, Illinois.

The town was settled around 1880 as a central location for local ranchers who held their annual round-up. In 1889 two acres of land were donated for a townsite, and soon after a post office was granted and a store was built.

In 1891 the community established a school and the Wichita Falls and Southern Railway arrived in 1909. The railroad caused the town to shift its location one mile north. In 1910 Olney became a two railroad town with the arrival of the Gulf, Texas and Western railroad.

Oil was discovered in 1923 and Olney became a boom town when huge reserves were found in '24. Three refineries opened and the population of Olney swelled to 5,000 by 1930. Railroad service was cut off during WWII and never reestablished. A tornado struck the community in 1951 causing extensive damage, injuring 75 and killing two.

See Olney Tornado - 1951 by Dr. Marlene Bradford

  • Agricultural Aircraft and Leland Snow by Ken Rudine
    In 1951 a Texan named Leland Snow began designing an airplane for the purpose of aerial applications on crops... In 1958 he moved his company to Olney, Texas. There he began building his aircraft models S-2A and S-2B... . In 1977 the first turbine engine model Air Tractor was produced... In 2008 there was a celebration honoring Leland Snow’s 50th year in Olney Texas.
  • Olney Texas mural of oil boom
    Another mural depicting oil boom
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
    See Texas Murals | Texas Towns
    Olney Texas bank detail
    Olney Bank architectural detail
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
    Olney Texas bank building
    Olney Bank building
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
    Hamilton Hotel in Olney Texas
    Hamilton Hotel
    Photo courtesy Mike Price, 2007
    Olney Texas old water tower showing Olney Cubs
    The old water tower
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2005
    Olney Texas  water tower
    Olney water tower
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2005
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    Archer City
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