in downtown Porterville, early 1900s
Photo courtesy Larry Randall
in a Pecan Shell
Originally named Juanita, after a woman no one remembers, the
town was renamed by Doctor Phil Porter of Michigan who started a health
colony there in 1905. Porter was convinced that the West
Texas climate was healthy and wholesome.
Doctor Porter platted the townsite in1908, and modestly named it Porterville.
A post office opened under the old name of Juanita in 1909 but officially
changed the name to Porterville, Texas a year later.
The townspeople donated money and labor to build a community building
/ school / church. Completed in 1909, it was moved to Mentone
(in 1931) where it still stands - the
oldest building in the county. The school held classes until 1935
when a new school was built as well as the
Much needed Irrigation was planned, but too many dams were built and
the water level dropped. The acreage under irrigation dropped from
slightly over 1,000 to 600. People started moving away around 1913.
As the water became scarce and unfit for drinking, oil was discovered
and Mentone came
into existence - just 2 miles to the northeast.
Porterville residents drifted to Mentone
until no one was left.
Porterville Temple Theater Photo
This photo was taken in downtown Porterville in the early 1900s
and shows the Temple Theater in the background. The ladies in the
wagon most likely are Capitola (Newton) Goodrich and her younger
sister Celinda Newton. The Newton Girls were born and raised in
Eaton County, Michigan. Porterville's school teacher Miss Celinda
Newton returned to her home town in Eaton County, Michigan. Mrs
Goodrich and her husband, lived their lives in Loving
County, Texas. They are buried in Charlotte, Eaton County Michigan.
- Larry Randall, Springport, Michigan, December 08, 2005
I have a post
card addressed to "Miss Celinda Newton" Dixieland, Texas. postmarked
1908. Ms. Newton was a school teacher in Porterville, Tx . It appears
that they must have used this mailing address before there was one
Ms. Newton is mentioned in the Porterville history, Loving
County, TX online. She was a sister to Mrs. Floyd Goodrich,
longtime residents of that area. They were from near here in MI.
I am into a study of Porterville. - Larry Randall, Springport, Michigan,
March 17, 2005
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact