C.W. Post had his own ideas on
philanthropy. He said, "the welfare work I believe in is that which makes
it possible for man to help himself, but does not include holding the milk
bottle after he is weaned." This was his philosophy behind building Postumville, the town he built for his workers, and was soon to be
the same philosophy he followed to build his farming community, his oasis in the
desert on the plains of West Texas.
The Slaughter Ranch House
U Lazy S owner, J.B. Slaughter built this
stunning ranch house with beautiful landscaping, in
1907 by hauling the lumber by mule train from Colorado
City. Mrs. Slaughter, "Belle", a
creative homemaker and decorator was determined to bring
class and style to the harsh frontier. She
entertained lavishly, introducing the latest fashions
and treated guests to imported culinary delights.
She encouraged the founding of social clubs and
functions in Post. The beautiful ranch home was
destroyed by fire in 1935 and replaced by a smaller
home where Belle continued to live
until her death.
In the fall of
1906, Charles employed a Texas rancher, T.P. Stevens, to look over some ranches
for him in West Texas. Post bought 213,324 acres of land, including 333 square
miles of Garza County, on which he was to build his town.
As C.W. Post became
more active in political and labor activities, and with his daughter going to
private school in Washington, he set up a Cabinet of management to handle his
affairs in Battle Creek, as well as his affairs in Texas.
His Texas affairs
manager was H.C. Hawk. Hawk was responsible for stocks, bonds, real estate and
supervision of the Double U Ranch beginning in 1906. His other control included,
Canadian Postum Cereal Ltd., Grape Nuts, Enquire Publishing Company, Home &
Fireside Magazine, Young Fuel & Pure Ice Company and a labor publication
known as Square Deal.
It seemed as though
anything he touched turned a profit. All but one, that is, Elijahís Manna. It
was introduced in 1906, as a prepared breakfast food. The name in itself was to
cause him much grief and anguish. The American religions accused Post of
sacrilege. Though he protested, he was forced to recall the product and
repackage it under the name of Post Toasties. Post Toasties made
him a net profit of $2,185,820 in 1908.
Cereal that Won the West
William Post, a Texanized Yankee with a nervous
stomach, not only rewrote the breakfast of the nations
but he changed the geography of his adopted state.
His monument is the town of Post, built on the edge of
the Staked Plains caprock escarpment, with money he
made by inventing a coffee substitute called Postum
and a cereal made for corn which is known as Post
Mr. Post paid high wages, with
good working conditions, and encouraged his cowboys to
become land owners by loaning money at low interest,
but when he tried to improve their health by ordering
the cook to serve Postum for 10 days to wean his ranch
hands away from that staple of every cowboy's diet,
coffee, the cowhands threatened to ride off the range.
After a couple of days he relented and again served
coffee. Post firmly believed that coffee was
After his many other
interests were attended to, Post was able to direct more attention to his Texas
venture. His idea of relaxation, to restore his health was to travel, which in
turn was actually work. His true relaxation was personal involvement in physical
labor. His dream town in Texas, Post City, would eventually lead to the
final breakdown in his health.
His dream was a community
in which a family could acquire a home with low money down and low monthly
payments. But as stated previously, he did not believe in a handout, he believed
the purchaser should have the means of self support, after the purchase of their
There were two designs of C.W. Post farm
homes. The square four room bungalow and the
larger "fifth room Houses". Many
settlers called this fifth room the "weaning
room" as the porch room was often used by newly
wed offspring as their first dwelling until they could
obtain a farm home of their own. This was the
Thomas homestead in Grassland built in 1915 and was
unoccupied at the time of this sketch in 1985.
He felt that the state of Texas had this to offer. It had plenty of land, wide
open spaces and agricultural potential, land and resources for raising cattle
and a sparse population, at the time. This would be the ideal place for his
colonization dream. February 6, 1906, along with his wife and his daughter
Marjorie, and son-in-law Ed Close, and T.P. Stevens, they made the trip to the
Western Plains of Texas.
They traveled by rail as
far as fifty miles South of Wichita Falls, and the rest of the journey was made
by hacks and springboard wagons. The high plains of Texas are noted for their
unpredictable weather, and on this trip the weather showed just how ruthless it
A blue northern
came through as they were partly through their journey. A "Blue" can
prove disastrous for those caught without shelter or protection. Driving cold
winds and freezing rain could create a life threatening situation in a matter of
minutes. Just as things began to look their worst, a tiny shack appeared, which
turned out to be a corn storage bin.
As luck would have it,
there was a little stove off to one side. There was no wood available, but it
did contain plenty of corn cobs, which they fed continuously to the stove during
the night. After surviving that bleak night, and the passing of the storm,
Charles insisted on looking up the owner the next day and paying him for the
corn and the use of the bin.
After they arrived at
their destination Post made contact with the owner of the Curry Comb Ranch and
other lands in the area. The deal was made and the land was purchased in
February, 1906. According to an article in the Kalamazoo Enquire, March 15,
1906, Post is quoted as saying in part, "After inspecting the lands and
returning to Fort Worth, Ed Close and I inspected the agentís report and
bought the well known Curry Ranch of 112,000 acres and another adjourning 50,000
He continued, "It is
75 miles from the nearest railway headquarters, but we are going to push the
railway through the property." He did not at that time, for whatever
reason, reveal to the public his intention to build his city. By the end of the
year Post had acquired a total of nearly 250,000 acres.
One of the first orders
of business in setting up his new town was the formation of a company to run his
affairs in this venture. He named the company, The Double U Company (the
nameís origin is said to have been derived from Postís thought of his town
becoming a "Double Utopia"), and its first manager was W.E. Alexander.
Post began his venture with $50,000, of which he controlled $49,600.
His plan for an
experimental community had been many years in the planning. The first seeds of
idea are said to have sprouted during his trip to Texas while recuperating from
his mental breakdown. He knew finding people to purchase his experimental farms
would not be hard. The problem, he felt, would be keeping the undesirables out.
To help eliminate this problem he relied on his secretary and most trusted
employee H.C. Hawk.
The time had finally
arrived to put his plan into action, and in 1907, Post headed for Texas. He and
"Uncle Tom Stevens" boarded the train. Stevens stopped in Kansas City
to purchase "big" mules for the arduous freighting operations that
would be needed for the thousands of tons of supplies to build the town. The
nearest railhead was Big Spring, nearly eighty miles across the harshest terrain
that Texas had to offer. Stevens and seventy-two mules safely arrived in Big
Spring in early February, 1907. Post made a stop in South Bend, Indiana, where
he purchased two dozen freight wagons and a hundred sets of harness to complete
the mule train hookup. They labored for over a month in Big Spring preparing for
The route that was
decided on was to be by way of Gail and Tahoka, a trail that was scouted
previously. The trail was rough but passable as long as the weather was
cooperative and the loads were not overly heavy. The wagons were loaded to
heights never before witnessed, the mules wore new collars, leather harnesses
and bridles with heavy leather blinds to deter them from panicking along the
steep drop-offs. The shiny red wheels on the new green wagons glittered in the
sunlight as the word was given to "move out". The outfit moved slowly
northward up the long grade of the Caprock and toward Postís utopia. This was
the first of what was to be many trips to the promised land.
Hauling lumber to build the City of Post. Leaving Big Spring, 1907
Post did all he could to ease the strain of the journey. He had roads repaired
and freight stations built to comfort the mule skinners along the trail. He was
mindful of both the men and his beasts of burden. He ordered that plenty of food
be kept on hand for the teams of mules as well as the men.
Even with the road
repaired it was still too poor to handle extra heavy loads of freight. An
alternate route was scouted and located by an engineer sent by the board, a man
named C.A. (Chief) Marchoff. The route chosen was through Snyder. Brush was cut
and trees cleared to a spot twenty miles southeast of Post City. From there it
followed the Caprock to Fluvanna. Finally a road was blasted up the Caprock to
Post City. Eventually the county and the company collaborated and the roads were
made into passable condition.
Before the arrival of the
first mule train, there was nothing but the stakes Post had driven in the ground
marking the site of the proposed town. Alexander went to work immediately. He
erected twenty tents to house the workmen and one large tent for cooking and
dining. Workmen were recruited from nearby towns and ranches or sent by Post
from Battle Creek. Thirty five houses were finished by the end of May. The plots
were marked off in 80 and 160 acre sections. The homes were all being
constructed on the corners of the adjoining properties. Post felt that this
would help to relieve the loneliness of the women on the desolate plains. This
later proved to be nearly disastrous and the homes were moved to the center of
first concrete block building to be erected was the commissary store. The
massive building spanned a length of thirty feet by fifty feet. Next came the
workmenís dining room, kitchen, office buildings and three residences. A
two-story mill run by a gasoline engine was built to prepare lumber.
An urgent message was
sent by the board to Battle Creek. On May 10th, Alexander wired Post
that Garza County had recently been surveyed and the geographical center of the
county was found to be eight miles East of the town. The laws of Texas required
that a county seat be within four miles of the center of the county. Post was
determined to make his town the county seat. Putting all other business aside,
Post rushed down from Battle Creek on May 19th to scout a new
location. He found a spot within the four mile limit, three miles from the
Caprock. The final site for Post City had been found. The abandoned site, Close
City, also known as Ragtown, (because of all the tents), was abandoned. He
ordered the entire town to be relocated to the East of the commissary. This new
location was in the breaks country below and two miles East of the Caprock.
movable buildings and materials were laboriously moved to the new location. On
blasting a trail to enable the supplies to be moved down the embankment of the
Caprock, Alexander discovered what was to become an important commodity in
building the new city. A large deposit of white sandstone was discovered. Not
wanting to alarm Battle Creek to soon, the discovery was kept quiet until a
quantity of the material was acquired. Post was then notified of the discovery
and he immediately instructed the Double U to use the find in the construction
of the first rock buildings in the town. Considering the distance building
supplies had to be hauled, the quarry was an important discovery.
On July 7th, 1907, a vote was taken and Post City was proclaimed the
county seat of Garza County. The scene of the settlement was a vast prairie,
eighty miles from the nearest railroad or civilized settlement. The roads were
mere trails, there were no bridges to cross the streams and stubborn mules and
horses were the sole means of transportation. To Post it was a challenge. He
hired more laborers and forged on.
By June a planing mill
had been erected, a shed for storing cement, a blacksmith shop, and a workroom
for carpenters had all been completed. By April, 1909, forty carloads of
materials from Beaumont had been shipped to Post City. Construction was
progressing at a near frantic pace. The first of many rock buildings to be
erected was a company building that would house eight stores. Two Scottish stone
masons, George and Charlie Sampson, along with Jimmie Napier were in charge of
the masonry construction. Napier, a friend of the Sampson brothers, arrived in
Post City directly from Scotland.
Post would not tolerate
shoddy work and he paid close attention to all work and machinery around him. He
arrived in Post City in November to observe the construction first hand. He took
much pride in the size and the beauty of what he was building. While visiting
Post City in June, the finishing touches were being added to the store building.
With his usual deportment he gave specific instructions on how the first
elevator in West Texas should be installed, along with a few windows and doors.
He left no detail to chance, no matter how insignificant is might have seemed.
1907 over 300 prospective residents had answered Postís call to his city.
People were arriving faster than housing could be constructed. The bungalow
style homes could be built in as little as 11 days, but a place for the visitors
to stay while they surveyed their properties was sorely needed. A hotel was to
be the answer, one that could offer the visitors comfort and style. Post sent
precise plans for the construction and supplying of the new hotel. The Algerita
Hotel, named after a desert shrub, was soon to be the talk of the West. The
doors were opened for business in July, 1908.
The hotel had 30 rooms,
good food, lavish furniture and beautiful paintings. The linens were to be
changed after each guest. Postum and Grape-Nuts was to be placed in covered
dishes on each table in the dining room. As in all his endeavors, Post demanded
perfection in his hotel.
Other native stone
buildings to be erected were a restaurant, rooming house, planing mill, office
building, paint house and a machine shop. All were constructed with native stone
from Alexanderís Quarry.
Drug stores, grocery
stores, lumber yards and all other necessary stores began to appear on the
horizon. Post drafted a set of guidelines to be followed by all businesses. One
rule he demanded be followed strictly was no liquor. If any alcoholic beverages
were found being sold in any of Post Cityís establishments, the establishment
was to be closed down immediately.
make a connection with the outside world, Post ordered a fast traveling, light
weight mail and passenger hack to be put into service between Snyder and Post
City twice a week. He instructed that twenty light mules be trained for the job.
Four were to be on each of the two hacks from Post to Fluvanna and the same
number from that point to Snyder. A reserve of two were kept at each end of the
The town of Fluvanna had
been the shipping point to Post City by this was not to remain so for very long.
The Santa Fe was building South from Plainview to Lubbock. The road to Lubbock,
though ten miles further, offered an alternate route. The terrain of level and
high plains was much easier to traverse, and much safer. It seemed only logical
to Post that a road be constructed from there on to Lubbock.
In September, 1909, Post
wrote that he was shipping a large load of water pipe to Lubbock by way of the
Santa Fe. The freighting charge from Lubbock to Post City was five cents a
hundred weight cheaper than the rate from Fluvanna. Post got in touch with the
Vice President of the Santa Fe, W.B. Story Jr. And gained his cooperation in
making deliveries as close to Post City as was possible for the time. In the
beginning, the Santa Fe was asking that the Double U build a side track or a
weight station at Beresford Siding. Finally, however, it was agreed that the
company was under no obligation to do so and Beresford Siding began receiving
carloads of freight destined for Post City. The railroad was finally completed
into the city on November 18, 1910.
On December 22, 1910, it
is recorded, the company received twelve carloads of freight by rail, into Post
City. The first passenger train steamed into a turbulent and festive welcome on
January 15, 1911. The entire town and country folks alike turned out for the
The trip up and down the Caprock was steep. The earlier Trans-World powered by
steam, lacked the power to back up the grade so the trains were required to back
into Post City to enable them to have a straight forward pull at the hill. Work
continued feverishly to complete the Post City station. Soon new freight depot,
a passenger station, switches, side tracks and a railroad yard were finished by
the end of January. But, it did not stop there. The Santa Fe was building a line
from Coleman through Sweetwater and Snyder to connect with the Amarillo-Post
City line. Post City was not only connected to Lubbock and point s North, it was
connected directly to the national lines. The gap that had created such
isolation for the city had been filled.
After the arrival of the
Santa Fe, people began arriving in Post City in as many as 11 immigrant cars per
day. Poor communications with the outside world was no longer a problem. The old
freighting days were gone. Mules and wagons were replaced by railroad cars. The
city was no longer a wide spot on a desolate trail.
1906 there were less than 200 people. By 1907 over 300 had arrived and by 1908
the population was almost doubling by the year. The quest for water in the
semiarid plains was sure to be a major stumbling block. In the beginning, water
was hauled from atop the cap where a producing well had been drilled by
Alexander in May, 1907. The only water on site in Post City was from cisterns
built to capture the infrequent rain fall. Small tanks and lakes furnished water
for the stack. At C.W.ís order a well was drilled in town to a depth of over
250 feet, but with negative results. Teamsters kept water wagons moving in and
out of the town both day and night. Water was needed for both drinking and for
the mortar in building the township.
The water problem had to solved if Post City was to continue to prosper.
Alexander made a futile attempt at piping water into Post City with a makeshift
pipeline from Keithís Spring. This produced only two gallons of water per
minute. He later referred to it sarcastically as Alexanderís "Pet
Spring". Post arrived in Post City to take charge. He concluded that an
abundance of water could be piped from atop the Caprock to the town site by way
of wells and gravity. Windmills would extract the water from the ground and the
steep slope of the Caprock would provide the necessary power to bring it into
He ordered Alexander to
drill fifteen or twenty wells on the High Plains, a mile and a half South of the
Commissary. The first water works sent the supply of water into a reservoir, but
it was obvious it could not be used for any length of time in fear of
contamination, and was therefore only a temporary measure. Even with the
eighteen foot windmills pumping as fast as the Texas winds could turn them, the
water supply was inadequate. Post sent orders that a ten foot diameter, brick
lined well be dug. The eighty-plus foot well when completed held over fourteen
feet of fresh water. A new rock and masonry reservoir was built and a gasoline
engine furnished the power for the pumps that were capable of delivering over
one hundred gallons of water per minute. Along with the giant eighteen foot
windmills on seventeen wells still proved to be inadequate. After several
reservoirs were built or moved and dozens of more wells drilled, a check for
$29,000 from Post was still needed to finish all that was needed to provide an
adequate water supply. The water works was completed in 1912.
Post grew up around greenery and wanted this for his model town. He concluded
that he would build an ideal town and rural community where flowers and trees
would bloom in the desert. He envisioned orchards, fruit trees and yards well
stocked with roses and other flowers. This was apparent very early on, in
clippings he sent to his manager, W.E. Alexander form the Kansas City Star
as early as 1907. He ordered trees be planted thirty feet apart for a distance
of two miles on each side of the highways leading in and out of Post City. He
ordered parklets or plots on downtown streets and a large park to be landscaped
South of town.
Post sent specific plans to Post City as to how the homes and farms were to be
built. He wanted to experiment with the trees, fruits, vegetables and other
things that would be needed to sustain life on the farms. If the tenants could
not make a living they would not be happy and therefore would not make good
They were to have three
acre orchards, vegetable gardens, grapes and the necessary fencing. But before
putting the farms up for sale, Post felt that he might as well carry on some
detailed experiments in farming in the area, since he was in no particular hurry
anyway. For the next seven years Post carried on extensive and detailed
experiments. Alexander was put in charge of the dry land farming. He had
previous dry land experience, growing vegetables and various other crops that
Post was interested in. Forty farms were built on the plains with corn and
several varieties of vegetables planted. Low yields were harvested and the
reason was excused by Post as being Alexanderís northern way of planting. In
reality he had not mounded the rows to enable the water to soak into the crops.
In addition to the
standard crops - corn, cotton and oats - Kaffir corn was planted. Milo, Sudan
grass, cow peas, wax beans, broom corn, peanuts and hundreds of others were also
planted. Rainfall for the season was average. The harvest for 1908 was better
than expected. Two mouse-proof bins had to be built to hold the surplus. After
years of experiments, both successes and failures, it was decided that red
Kaffir corn and cotton were the hardiest and were best suited for the area.
Plowing was also experimented with. The more deeply plowed areas yielded more
that three times that of the shallower ones.
the spring of 1909 the fruit trees he had planted had begun to produce fruit.
When the farms were sold it became the responsibility of the new tenants to care
for the orchards and gardens. Many of them neglected to do so. As the residences
were sold, the ground was broken up, Bermuda grass, roses and many other flowers
were planted. In an effort to induce tenants to maintain them a cash prize was
offered for the best yards.
Homes in the city were
built in four classifications: one, two, three and four bedrooms. Prices ranged
from $800 and up, depending on the home and its location. Most were built in the
bungalow style that Post was so fond of, though some had rock lower walls and
stucco. All were offered at low down payments with low monthly payments.
Colonization of the town
was proceeding at a rapid pace, but the farm colonization was much slower.
Massive nation wide advertising campaigns were started. Distribution ranged from
as far West as Washington state to as far East as Washington DC Because of the
slow rate of sales, he decided more improvements were needed on the farms. Wells
were dug, fencing was erected, sheds were built and animals were stocked in
many. Still the farm sales did not keep up with the town sales.
He finally decided to
completely change his approach. He would rent the farms to people who might
eventually want to by then, then improvements would be made an the land tilled,
increasing its value and appeal to the tenants. Full page ads were taken out in
several papers advertising the lease of the farms. The ads offered farms to be
leased at low rates for five years which could then be purchased at a cost that
was agreed upon in the beginning. Letters began arriving at an alarming rate.
Special fares were
arranged with the railroads for prospective colonists going to Post City. They
were met at the depot and driven around to the various lease farms and homes.
They were treated like royalty. The farms that were not rented were farmed by
Double U employees to ensure that properties were kept up.
Post City had finally
begun to really grow. Schools were started in two homes in 1908, a Volunteer
Fire Department was formed and a baseball team organized for the amusement of
the men. In 1909 the girls organized a basketball team and the ladies formed a
sewing circle which met on Wednesdays in the hotel. The ladies from the farming
communities started a literary society. Churches met in homes and other
buildings. Post City had gained a social life.
the beginning, Post owned and operated all of the businesses in Post City. It
was his intention to establish them and as residents arrived they would be sold
or leased to private individuals. Postís favorite business in his dream town
was the hotel. But the hotel lost money from the start. Finally, in 1913, a
young couple by the name of W.E. La Fon and wife took over management of the
hotel. By December of that year they were doing so well that the board raised
their salary. The following March, J.K. Witt took over and the institution
continued to at least break even.
One other white elephant
was the laundry. It was hoped that the laundry would draw customers from Tahoka
and neighboring communities. As it turned out the equipment was all either too
large or too small to be effective.
Another business that
contributed to their trouble was the company store. The store sold everything
from windmill parts to food goods. One section was cordoned off and served as a
drug store or apothecary. Needless to say the bookkeeping in a business selling
such a wide variety of merchandise was a nightmare. Eventually the books were
balanced and a new, simpler system put in place.
Post originally planned
on selling the large store, with its eight different sections to one individual
as a package deal. They were eventually sold separately. One be one as colonists
arrived and purchased the businesses, the Double U was free of their
outside communities was a major problem. In the beginning, a telephone line was
run to Clarkís ranch, southwest of town. This line connected them to Snyder,
Colorado City and Fort Worth. A few weeks later a line was run to Tahoka, by way
of pasture fences. It worked nicely as long as the wind did not blow and it did
not rain. By December the wire had arrived and poles and proper lines were
installed. Switchboards were purchased and a building built to house the new
telephone exchange. The Garza Telephone Company operated until 1919, when it was
sold to Southwestern Bell.
A bank was needed for the
new community. The First National Bank of Post City was opened with capital
stock of $50,000, of which Post held 26,000 dollars, the controlling interest.
H.B. Herd was made president and W.O. Stevens cashier.
In 1910 the Double U
Company had built 59 new homes in town, all of which were sold. Other buildings
erected the same year were a two story office building, a Masonic lodge, a
school building, a church, a grain elevator and a movie house. In April, 1909,
Post sent plans for a cotton gin to be built in Post City. The gin buildings and
warehouse were completed in September. Enough cotton was ginned to keep the gin
busy, but not all year around. Post decided another enterprise was need.
A cotton mill seemed the
most logical choice. Construction began in February, 1912, and continued for
more than a year. The total floor space for the Postex Cotton Mills gigantic
buildings was over 136,000 square feet. The power house was equipped with three
300 horse water boilers and two 450 horse Corliss engines. The influx of people
and jobs strengthened the community and added more stability to the town. The
mill was the first in the nation that would take the raw cotton from the fields
and turn out the finished products. Garza Sheets soon became known for their
high standard of quality nationwide.
experiments had made him a wealthy and somewhat noted man. But none of his
previous experiments come close to matching the one he was about to try. Post
was in Texas during the 1800s when rainmaking was in its heyday. Congress had
appropriated $9,000 with which General H.E. Dryenforth of the U.S. Army, carried
out rainmaking experiments in Midland, Texas. Gunpowder and balloons filled with
gas were set into the heavens and ignited. In sixteen days of explosions he got
three heavy rains and nine showers. Post figured that if he could make it rain
when and where he wanted it to he would go down in history as the greatest
inventor in the world. He could remember tales of rain resulting after great
battles, such as Napoleonís battle days, and the talk of the Civil War
veterans and their stories of all the rainfall following intense cannonading.
Postís first rain
experiment was in 1910. Two pounds of dynamite was flown into the sky and
ignited in the clouds. After the first experiment, Post deemed that the kite
method was too dangerous. Later, fourteen pounds packs of dynamite was spaced
fifty feet apart for a quarter mile and lighted on the ground at ten minute
intervals. In one battle, as he liked to call them, 3,000 pounds of dynamite was
ignited in 1,500 shots. Rain fell almost immediately.
In 1912 alone over 24,000
pounds of dynamite was exploded in an attempt to produce rain. A slight rainfall
was reported in Crosbyton, Slaton and Post City after one such battle. The
experiments continued through mid 1913, but when rain became plentiful the
experiments were halted.
By 1910, other
necessities could be attended to. Dr. A.R. Ponton first arrived in Post City in
that year, and experimented in socialized medicine. Post was so pleased by the
citizens response and by the doctorís idea that he assisted by purchasing
POST SANITARIUM later to become the Garza
County Historical Museum
next step came when plans were made to erect a two story building to be used as
a sanitarium. Plans for the building were begun in 1911 and construction began
shortly after. It was a beautiful building with large pillars supporting a
second story porch. It had a basement, an elevator and six bathrooms. The Ponton
Sanitarium opened for business in 1913. It was billed as the best medical
facility in the West. Dr. Ponton is said to have performed over a dozen
operations almost immediately after the doors opened. A nurses training center
was started, making it the only one West of St. Louis.
operated successfully until World War I, when all the young doctors were called
to service. The Sanitarium closed its doors as a medical facility in 1918. Dr.
Ponton moved to Lubbock where he opened another sanitarium that would later be
called Methodist Medical Center. The Post City Sanitarium is now the Garza
had strong feelings that a large deposit of oil lay buried beneath the soil of
the South Plains. He hired a geologist from the East to come to Post City and
ascertain if the oil existed. The geologist confirmed Postís suspicions and
preparations for oil well drilling began in 1910. A steam boiler was moved into
Post City in an attempt to find the elusive black gold. All of this was done
before the coming of the railroads.
After Post was notified
of the defeat, and the expenditure of over $20,000, he put a halt to the
project. Ironically, if he had drilled a few hundred feet further into the
second hole he would have discovered one of the largest oil deposits in West
By this time the growth
of the town had slowed its pace. Post felt that now what was needed was
entertainment to ease tensions and bring unity to the city. Two Draw Lake was
constructed two miles from town as a place for swimming and barbecues. It was
billed as an oasis and attracted people from across the region. The lake soon
became the site of an annual July 4th celebration.
As Post weaned the
community of total reliance on him, he retreated to his Santa Barbara home. He
was feeling once again in pain and totally exhausted from the constant stress of
his incredible work load. In 1917 the town population was over 3,000, but sadly,
C.W. Post never lived to see his dream completely fulfilled.
first indication of the severity of Postís ill health came when he canceled a
speech he was prepared to deliver against President Woodrow Wilson in New York,
condemning the new income tax law. The speech was given instead by Charles Dunn,
a New York lawyer. His failure to deliver his speech waved a red flag to the
press. Postís fragile health was failing. Then in January, 1914, a Chicago
newspaper ran headlines on page one saying, "C.W. Post has broken down from
overwork and mental strain". From January to March, his health tittered
from pain to depression and despair.
Finally, in March,
newspapers across the country reported, "Michigan Millionaire Races With
Death Across the West." A nonstop train ride in a private car had been
arranged by the president of the Santa Fe Railroad, from California to the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
His daughter, Marjorie,
and his parents rushed to Rochester to be by his side. On March 10, he was
operated on for acute appendicitis. The operation was a success, and he was
released from the hospital and was allowed to return to California to
recuperate. His recuperation went satisfactorily, until May 9, 1914.
59 years and 7 months of C.W. Postís Earth tenure covered a period in American
history which encompassed the maximum of startling events for a like period of
As a lad, Charlie Post stood on the streets of Springfield and watched the
return of Civil War Veterans. He saw his father act as a member of the honor
guard to bury the Great Emancipator. The golden spike, linking the first
transcontinental railroad, was driven when Charlie was 14, and he was just five
years of age when Drake drilled the first oil well in Pennsylvania. Edisonís
phonograph and incandescent lamp were forerunners of singular significance. The
Wizard of Menlo Park excited the populace again in 1893 with the Kinescope (the
beginning of the moving picture). The Curies made announcement of their
discovery of radium in 1898. The Wright brothers got their flying machine off
the ground while Henry Ford was endeavoring to take the world off itís feet.
The tunnel under the East River in New York, 1908, was an engineering feat of
great consequence. The first ship-to-shore wireless, the Panama Canal Act,
Alexander Graham Bellís inventions, discoveries of the North and South Poles,
the dedications of the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument,
were events well remembered by C.W.
He stood tall in the
middle of a great era. Those were the days of "moving forward" in
America, the age that founded the great fortunes which have established the
economic possibilities for the new frontiers. Just one month after C.W. Postís
death an Archduke would be shot in a town whose name most American could not
even pronounce, an incident that would involve America in a "War to end all
Wars". A new phase would begin in America, change the mode of living,
step-up the immense industrial potential and evolve a whole new pattern. A great
era and a great man would end their cycles almost simultaneously.
C.W. Post left behind him
many monuments in the hearts of men, and to the future he left a daughter carved
in his own image who would carry on in benevolence and love of humanity.
Marjorie Merriweather Post was 27 when she inherited a fortune and became the
owner of a thriving business. Unlike many such beneficiaries, she was to
increase and expand her inheritance and do much good with it.
Source: Caprock Cultural Association