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Ector County TX
Ector County

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PENWELL, TEXAS

"The Crossroads of the oil patch"

Texas Ghost Town
Ector County, West Texas

31° 44' 23" N, 102° 35' 30" W (31.739722, -102.591667)
I-20 and FM1601
16 miles SW of Odessa
20 miles E of Monahans
Population: 74 (2000, 1990)

Penwell, Texas Area Hotels › Odessa Hotels
Ector County, Penwell TX - Closed Gas Station
Penwell Closed Gas Station
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018

History in a Pecan Shell

Ector County's first oil boom occurred at "Derrick City" – near the former town of Judkins.

When the R. R. Penn Kloh-Rumsey No. 1, came in – the drilling operator was Penn, thus it was Penn’s well or Penwell. He is said to be the town’s namesake, however the historical marker on Hwy 80 states that the land was owned by one Robert Penn – another possible source for the town’s name.

The discovery was in the first half of October, 1929, the town was laid out the next month and a post office was granted in June the next year.

Penwell experienced the same predictable explosion of population as other oil towns and naturally, the same growing pains. Shacks and tents outnumbered proper dwellings.

According to the Handbook of Texas - Penwell had filling stations, stores, hotels, a drugstore, barbershop, dance hall, and the typical boom town rooming houses.

When drilling declined the population dwindled accordingly. Odessa and Midland – as well as new oil towns siphoned off population and Penwell was down to a ghost of it’s former self.

Historical Marker: (West City Limits, Hwy. 80)

Penwell

Birthplace of Ector County's Oil boom. First civic development here was wide-open town, "Derrick City", platted March 1927, after Dec. 28, 1926, oil discovery by driller Josh Cosden on land of W. E. Connell, near the old farming and cattle station, Judkins. However, when Connell well began pumping only 20 barrels a day, the boom crowd moved away. The city was abandoned.

As nearby counties off the railroad struck oil that had to be shipped by the Texas & Pacific to refineries, Ector County in 1927 had a "Truck Drivers Boom" --a foretaste of the leadership in supply and servicing that was to develop progressively. Then on Oct. 14, 1929, on Robert Penn's land here, a 375-barrel per day well came in. With that showing, exploration continued, soon followed by the Penn Well, the 600 to 700-barrel a day gusher. In a busy, bustling and prosperous tent city, the Penwell Post Office was established June 30, 1930. This has remained a central distributing and shipping point for numerous fields in several permian basin counties, thereby establishing and earned reputation as "The Crossroads of the oil patch".
1965
Ector County, Penwell TX - Closed Gas Station
Closed Gas Station
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018
More Texas Gas Stations
Penwell TX - Joker Coffee Shop
"The shell of The Joker Coffee Shop"
June 2010 Photo courtesy Bronson Dorsey - http://lost-texas.com
Ector County, Penwell TX -  Closed Cafe
Joker Coffe Shop in 2018
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018
Ector County, Penwell TX -  Closed  cafe & garage
The closed cafe & garage
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018
More Texas Ghost Signs
Ector County, Penwell TX -  Closed oil change garage
Closed oil change garage
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018
Penwell TX -  Old tanks and trucks
Old tanks and trucks
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018
Penwell Texas railroad tracks
A view from the railroad
Photo courtesy Lexie Nichols & Jordan Gibson, February 2007
Mass grave of Chinese railroad workers near Penwell
Mass grave of Chinese railroad works near Penwell.
Photo Courtesy Lexie Nichols & Jordan Gibson , February 2007
Details on the mass grave are available in
Mel Brown's book Chinese Heart of Texas
Ector County, Penwell TX - Defunct Rhodes Welding Company
Defunct Rhodes Welding Company
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018
Ector County, Penwell TX - Defunct Rhodes Welding Company  ghost sign
Rhodes Welding Company ghost sign & Highway signs
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, January 2018

Penwell TX, Ector County post office info
Penwell TX, Ector County 1936 postmark
Cover canceled with Penwell, TX 1936 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection

Penwell, Texas Area Attractions:

Monahans Sandhills State Park
US 80/I-20
Just outside of Penwell.
About 6 miles E. of Monahan
TX  Ector County 1940s Map
Ector County 1940s Map showing Penwell, Odessa, Monahans & Kermit
From Texas state map #4335

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Penwell, Texas Nearby Towns:
Odessa the county seat
Monahans
See Ector County | West Texas

Book Hotel Here:
Odessa Hotels | More Hotels
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