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ELECTRA, TX

ELECTRA, TEXAS. Electra is on U.S. Highway 287 and State Highway 477 fifteen miles northwest of Wichita Falls in northwestern Wichita County. Daniel Waggoner began ranching in the area in 1852. In the mid-1880s the tracks of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway reached the area. Shortly thereafter Waggoner and his son William T. Waggoner built loading pens and persuaded railroad officials to establish a switch at the site in 1885. The location was briefly called Waggoner, but with the construction of a depot and the opening of a post office in 1889, it was renamed Beaver, probably for Beaver Creek, beside which most of the original Waggoner ranchland was located. Within ten years Beaver provided businesses and a school for Waggoner employees. In 1902 residents selected the name Electra, in honor of W. T. Waggoner's daughter. In 1905 Waggoner sold the land to Fort Worth developer Solomon Williams. He and his partners formed the Electra Land and Colonization Company, which extended the city limits, subdivided the town lots, and advertised in national publications to attract residents. The company was successful, and in 1907 the community incorporated with a commission form of government and 500 residents. The town grew to an estimated 1,000 people by 1910, when Electra had a newspaper, a bank, and a number of churches. The Electra Independent School District was established in 1911.

W. T. Waggoner had drilled unsuccessfully for water. But oil was a different matter. On April 1, 1911, Clayco No. 1 blew in a mile north of Electra. News of the gusher spread rapidly and a boom resulted. The town's population reached 5,000 within months. Because Electra was an established community and the oil land was already leased, the plague of tent cities and the chaos that accompanied the discovery of oil in other areas never materialized. Many who rushed to Electra seeking quick profits, however, just as quickly departed.

The Electra oilfield produced approximately ten million barrels between 1911 and the mid-1920s. In 1917 the population of Electra was 5,400; in 1926 it was 4,744, and the town had a high school, numerous churches, two newspapers, two banks, and over 100 businesses. In 1936 Electra had 6,712 residents and 170 businesses. Drilling operations declined, though, and the growing Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis attracted residents. In the mid-1960s the population in Electra decreased to just over 5,000. The community constructed a 100-acre park in hopes of attracting new industries, but the oil crisis of the 1970s assured decline. In 1982 the Electra Historical Museum was dedicated to celebrate the town's seventy-fifth anniversary. In 1988 the town had a population of 3,599 and seventy-seven businesses. In 1990 it had a population of 3,113 and forty-eight businesses. In 2000 it had a population of 3,168 and 139 businesses. See also WICHITA COUNTY REGULAR FIELD.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Louise Kelly, Wichita County Beginnings (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982).

David Minor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David Minor, "ELECTRA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hge05), accessed July 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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