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Brewster County exposes "dummy town"

February
08
1910

On this day in 1910, a Brewster County grand jury exposed the Progress City swindle. The grand jury, led by well-known cattleman and Sul Ross State University founder Joseph D. Jackson, reported on the Progress City Town Site Company. This bogus organization sold town lots for Progress City, an “imaginary town” situated in the Santiago Mountains about forty miles southeast of Alpine. Unsuspecting buyers across Texas had already purchased more than 1,000 lots for $1.50 each without realizing that the site was along a remote and rugged trail only accessible by horseback. The Progress City Town Site Company consisted of John L. Mauk and Lee R. Davis of Waco, who had gained title to the land from William Poole. The grand jury admitted that prosecution was probably pointless, but did accomplish its goal of exposing the caper while making clear the innocence of the people of Brewster County.

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