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PHILLIPS, TX

PHILLIPS, TEXAS. Phillips is three miles northeast of Borger in south central Hutchinson County. Early in 1926, after oil was discovered in Hutchinson County, the pioneer rancher James A. Whittenburg sought to cash in on the coming boom by founding a community. He initially named the town Whittenburg, after himself. Whittenburg's townsite was eagerly promoted by P. R. Williams of Amarillo, who predicted a population of 10,000 within a year. Soon it had a next-door rival in the community of Pantex, which was shortly renamed Phillips. The Phillips Petroleum Company completed its first plant in the Panhandle, the Alamo Refinery, at Pantex in 1927. As the company developed, the boomtown shanties and overcrowded rooming houses gave way to more permanent housing and other facilities for employees and their families, several churches, a hospital, and a progressive school system. In 1935 a new $77,000 school building replaced an earlier brick structure. In 1938 the two townsites voted to merge under the name of Phillips. Railroad service for the refineries was provided by a spur of the Panhandle and Santa Fe line.

In 1947 the population of Phillips numbered 4,250. By that time the Frank Phillips Foundation had contributed thousands of dollars for scholarships for children of Phillips employees. The company also provided housing for teachers. After a fire razed the high school on March 19, 1950, classes were held in the Baptist and Methodist churches until the structure was rebuilt. In the 1950s and 1960s improved highways and faster local transportation resulted in the loss of most of the town's businesses to nearby Borger. By 1970 the Phillips post office had been discontinued. The population of Phillips decreased from 3,605 in 1960 to 2,515 by 1980, and the number of local businesses decreased as well. On January 20, 1980, a hydrocarbon explosion wiped out two gasoline-producing units and a steam-generating facility, causing millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses in both Phillips and Borger. Nevertheless, Phillips survived as a residential area for company employees. In 1990 its population was 1,624.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], The Phillips, Texas, Story (Nazareth, Texas, 1982).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

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

H. Allen Anderson, "PHILLIPS, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgp03), accessed April 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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