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NEWTOWN, TX [#1] (WICHITA COUNTY)

NEWTOWN, TEXAS [#1] (Wichita County). Newtown, five miles northwest of Burkburnett, was one of a dozen communities called forth by the oil boom that occurred in Wichita County between 1918 and the early 1920s. As a result of the discovery of oil near Burkburnett in 1918, an estimated 65,000 persons moved to the northeast corner of the county over the next few years. Literally overnight, tent cities of oil boomers appeared. Newton was one of these. Its three-year existence was typical of most of the boomtowns. The settlement had one main road, unpaved, a few businesses that offered basic services such as haircuts or general merchandise, and numerous establishments that seemingly followed roughnecks wherever they went, including gambling halls, saloons, and whorehouses. Because the buildings, constructed of tin, tar paper, and canvas, burned easily, the sight of flames was not uncommon at Newtown. In 1922 a fire destroyed the community after lightning struck an oil-storage tank. To decrease the chance of an explosion, the citizens allowed oil to leak out of the tank, but the trail of oil caught fire and destroyed everything in its path. Those who survived the fire moved to nearby Thrift, abandoning any thought of rebuilding Newtown. A second Newtown with two stores, located between Electra and Beaver Creek, existed for a brief time during the oil boom.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Louise Kelly, Wichita County Beginnings (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). Wichita Falls Times, May 15, 1957.

David Minor

Citation

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

David Minor, "NEWTOWN, TX [#1] (WICHITA COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvn31), accessed July 13, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.