STINNETT, TEXAS. Stinnett, the county seat of Hutchinson County, is at the junction of State highways 152 and 207, in the central part of the county. It was established in the summer of 1926 to be a shipping point on the Amarillo branch of the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway. It was named for Albert Sidney Stinnett of Amarillo, who had helped purchase the right-of-way for the railroad. Within four months the town promoters, led by A. P. (Ace) Borgerqv and J. T. Peyton, sold $400,000 worth of lots by holding special "Dollar Day" picnics for interested buyers. Almost overnight the population rose to around 2,500. In September 1926 the promoters petitioned for a special election that changed the Hutchinson county seat from Plemons to Stinnett. In 1927 the town was incorporated with a mayor-commission government. A post office was opened, and on December 15, 1928, the present county courthouse was dedicated.
Although Stinnett was not a characteristic oil boomtown, it profited greatly from the fields around neighboring communities, as well as from the railroad. Many residents who sought the "black gold" lived in boxcar shanties and canvas tents. Stinnett had its share of lawlessness and violence, for example, the shooting death of the notorious bootlegger W. J. (Shine) Popejoy at the city jail in 1933. During the Prohibition era many restaurants, rooming houses, and drugstores in town sold illegal whiskey and beer in their back rooms. In 1930, when the Great Depression hit and the price of crude oil fell, the population in Stinnett dropped to 500. The number of businesses decreased from seventy-five in 1928 to fewer than twenty in 1930. Nevertheless the town's school system, established in 1926–27, and several church congregations helped Stinnett to survive. The population increased from 635 in 1940 to 2,695 in 1960. Much of this growth resulted from the industrial development of natural gas and petroleum, which provided a new source of employment. In the 1960s the town reported eight churches, a school, a bank, a branch library, and a newspaper.
Although its boom days were past, Stinnett retained its importance as a commercial center for the surrounding grain-growing, oil, and ranching area. In the 1980s, under a mayor-council government, the town owned the fire department, ambulance service, and all public utilities except electricity, which was furnished by Southwestern Public Service. The Stinnett school system produced several outstanding athletes, most notably Donny Anderson, former National Football League star. The restored 1899 box-and-strip cottage of Isaac McCormick, the area's first settler, was made into a museum on the courthouse square. Although the population of Stinnett declined somewhat, 2,222 people were reported in the census of 1980. In 1990 the population was 2,166. The population dropped to 1,936 in 2000.
Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). Jerry Sinise, Black Gold and Red Lights (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], The Stinnett, Texas, Story (Nazareth, Texas, 1974).