Breckenridge History 1922
Breckenridge History Written in 1922
The growth of Breckenridge within one year from a village of 800 or 900 population to a bustling city of 20,000 is a typical instance of the wonderful changes due to oil discovery and exploitation, changes so rapid and momentous and occurring in so many different places, almost at the same time, that it taxes the historian's ability to keep pace with them. The little village was enjoying a slow and gradual growth, depending upon the surrounding live stock and agricultural industries, but handicapped by the lack of a railroad, when the discovery of oil in West Texas, with Stephens County in the center of the oil belt, gave Breckenridge an impetus that has since carried it along by leaps and bounds. Pioneers of oil development early saw that Breckenridge would become a center of new and important interests, and, armed with abundant capital, they made the town their headquarters. Having located, they saw opportunities for town development, and thus the ranks of the progressive citizenship of Breckenridge received valuable additions. The railroad has since come, but the early arrivals did not wait for it, they were whirled from the nearest railroad stations by motor cars, they traveled in wagons, they brought supplies and materials in great trucks and they took possession of Breckenridge before the railroad was more than a remote possibility.
By June, 1920, there could be seen from the court house at Breckenridge 500 derricks. Today (January 6, 1921) there are oil wells everywhere. They are in the back yards of residences—many of them ; they are on the playgrounds of the schools, and the revenue is helping pay the teachers' salaries. There is an oil well on the Y. M. C. A. block. Even the Baptist Church has one drilling only a few feet away from the tabernacle.
The Breckenridge field, thirty-four miles in extent, has as high as 100,000 barrels a day. Two hundred wells are being drilled in the town and about 1,000 in the entire field.
The coming of the oil produced an abnormal situation in Breckenridge. It tested the resources of the citizens to take care of the crowds. What they did they had to do quickly. At present the town presents the appearance of having been built very rapidly. But the building now going on is of a more permanent character. The schools have been badly crowded and many classes are being held in the different church buildings. The congestion, however, is being gradually relieved.
Breckenridge has a live Chamber of Commerce, adequate banking facilities, two newspapers, the American and the Democrat, and churches of several denominations. It is likely to be a town of good population and large business activities for many years to come. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.