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WINK, TX

WINK, TEXAS. Wink is on Monument Draw, State Highway 115, and Farm Road 1232, seven miles southwest of Kermit in southwestern Winkler County. It began in 1926, when oil was discovered in Hendrick oilfield in Winkler County. By mid-1927 the Wink Townsite Company was selling lots in Horse Wells pasture of the T. G. Hendrick Ranch. The oil boom brought new people to Wink, causing a shortage of housing. Newcomers set up tents and built makeshift houses. Wink was originally named Winkler for the county. When a post office was requested, postal authorities notified the applicant that there was a Winkler, Texas, post office already in operation. The citizens shortened the name to Wink and received a post office in 1927. That year the first public school was organized, and a temporary building was constructed. A Sunday school was started by November 1927, and the population of the town was reported at 3,500. By 1929 that number climbed to 6,000. The boom brought lawlessness-bootlegging, prostitution, gambling-to Wink. Even the city government, which was organized on June 4, 1928, came under the control of a well-organized underworld. On October 16, 1928, District Judge Charles Klapproth declared the incorporation election void, and the city government was reorganized. In December of that year the first municipal building was constructed; it was a jail. In 1929 the Texas-New Mexico Railway built its tracks from Wink Junction to Wink, connecting the town to Monahans and to New Mexico. In the 1930s the boom declined; the population hovered under 4,000, and the number of businesses fluctuated between fifty and 180. By 1933 the town was legally incorporated. Five hospitals and fifteen doctors served injured oilfield workers, expectant mothers, and epidemic victims. Law and order became the rule. Throughout the 1940s the population continued to decline from 1,945 to 1,521, and the number of businesses decreased from 130 to forty. In December 1947 Winkler County State Bank opened in Wink. Wink entered the 1950s a stable community with a population of just over 1,500. The number of businesses varied in the decade from twenty-five to fifty. In 1958 the railroad from Wink Junction to Wink was abandoned. During the early 1960s the population rose to over 1,800 but dipped to under 1,200 by 1968. The number of businesses jumped between fifty-five and twenty. In July 1960 the federal government approved an application by Wink for more than a million dollars in urban renewal funds to upgrade and rehabilitate 221 acres within the city limits. National attention focused on the small oil town, which used the money for paving and curb and gutter work. The population continued to decline to under 1,200 in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1970s the oil economy improved, but the number of businesses slipped to a low of five by the late 1980s. At the end of the 1980s Wink operated on a limited budget, based on low tax rates. In 1990 Wink remained a small oil town with a population of 1,189. The population was 919 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Wylene Kirk, "Early Post Offices and Towns in the Permian Basin Area," Texas Permian Historical Annual 1 (August 1961). Roger M. and Diana Davids Olien, Oil Booms (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982). A History of Winkler County (Kermit, Texas: Winkler County Historical Commission, 1984).

Julia Cauble Smith

Citation

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

Julia Cauble Smith, "WINK, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlw42), accessed October 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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