FRITCH, TEXAS. Fritch, on State Highway 136 in southwestern Hutchinson County and partly in Moore County, was founded in an area owned in part by three ranchers: J. M. Sanford, J. H. Johnson, and Roy B. Wright. It was named for H. C. (Fred) Fritch of Chicago, a vice president of the Rock Island Railroad, who arranged for the purchase of the right-of-way in 1924. After the line was opened, Fritch established a depot at his townsite and in 1933 he laid out the streets parallel with the railroad, which ran from northwest to southeast. In the wake of the 1926 oil boom, five major gas companies located in the vicinity. The growth of Fritch was slow during its first thirty years; in 1940 it had a store, a post office, and an estimated population of seventy-five. However, the construction of Sanford Dam on the Canadian River prompted Fritch to incorporate in 1959. By the time of the dam's completion in 1965 the city had a population of 2,800, two schools, six churches, a bank, and retirement homes. This growth was attributed mainly to the recreation areas at Lake Meredith, in addition to ranching, farming, and the oil and gas industry.
In the late 1960s growth waned due to lagging oil and gas production. The population was 1,778 in 1970. In 1972 the Rock Island abandoned the line through Fritch. However, the energy crisis of the early 1970s fostered increased oil and gas activities. By 1980 Fritch had thirty-one businesses and a population of 2,299. The Lake Meredith Aquarium and Wildlife Museum, opened in 1976, features wildlife exhibits and live fish specimens from the lake. The town is also known for its flatland irrigation system, which uses treated sewer water. The National Park Service headquarters for Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is located in Fritch, and the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, on the southeastern shore of Lake Meredith, is near Fritch in Potter County. In 1990 the population in Fritch was 2,335, and in 2000 it dropped slightly to 2,235.
Hutchinson County Historical Commission, History of Hutchinson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.H. Allen Anderson, "FRITCH, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjf08), accessed February 10, 2016. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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