Yoakum County TeXas 


Historical Markers
Yoakum County, Texas

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"Yoakum County"

   Marker installed 1965 
Address:  Cowboy Way at Ave F (Courthouse Lawn), Plains, Texas

Text:   "Created August 21, 1876, from Bexar County.   Named for Henderson Yoakum, who wrote a classic on
           early Texas history.  Only Texas county named for an author.  Indian activity and frontier hazards made growth
           slow.   Only itinerant buffalo hunters and scattered ranchers here until after 1900.   County organized September 7,
           1907.   By 1910 population reached 602 as result of sale of state lands.  Discovery of oil in 1935 brought industry
           and more people.   A 'Bonus Shack' typical of cabins used by homesteaders is used as a historical museum in
           Plains, the county seat."   1965

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"Wasson Field Discovery Well"

Marker installed 1981
Address:  Yoakum County Park.   From Denver City take SH 214 to about 4.5 miles North

Text:  "L. P. and Ruth Bennett moved to Yoakum County in 1916 to take over the ranching operation they had
          inherited from Ruth's father, Dr. J. R. Smith of Munday.  In 1927 they leased part of the ranch to the Texas
          Pacific Coal and Oil Company for drilling of exploratory oil wells.   By the mid-1930's the Bennett's cattle
          business was declining as a result of the economic depression and a severe area drought.  They were in danger
          of losing their property through foreclosure when oil was discovered on the ranch.   The find was made on
          October 10, 1935, at the Ruth Bennett No. 1-678 (6 miles northeast), a well supervised by Fort Worth
          wildcatter Red Davidson and crews of the Honolulu Oil Company.   With the discovery, the Bennetts were able
          to pay all claims against their land.   Increased drilling activity in the area created a "boom town" atmosphere and
          led to the founding of Denver City (6 miles south) in 1939.   Petroleum remains the major industry in Yoakum
          County, a national leader in the production of crude oil.  In 1964 Gene H. Bennett, the youngest son of
          L. P. and Ruth Bennett, donated this portion of the Bennett Ranch to the county for use as a park."   1981.

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"Site of Center Point School"  

Marker installed 2000
Address:   3.6 miles west of Plains on US 82 then 7.1 miles south on FM 1622

Text:    "Yoakum County was organized in 1907.   By the 1920s the area around this site was rural farm and ranch land
            without electricity, paved roads or a railroad.   Building lumber was brought by freight wagon.  Several local men
            erected a one-room frame building near this site in 1924 to serve as a school for the widely-scattered rural families.
            The structure also was used for Sunday school, monthly services and Methodist and Baptist revivals.  Designated
            as Center Point School District No. 8, it served an area of 64 square miles.   Classes ranged in size from four to
            more than twenty students over the years.  Some walked a mile or more across open prairie to reach the school.
            Others rode horses, which they kept tethered behind the building.   Students participated in Yoakum County
            Interscholastic League events in addition to their usual studies.   Teachers earned $80-$100 a month to teach all
            grades, do janitorial work and in some cases even provide daily transportation for the students.  Teachers usually
            boarded with local families.  Enrollment increased slightly when oil camps opened in the county in 1935.  In the
            spring of 1939, voters opted to merge Center Point School District No. 8 with others to form Plains Rural School
            District.   The one-room school was closed and moved to Plains for use as a music building, later becoming part
            of the American Legion hall.  Center Point School served the educational, spiritual and social needs of the
            surrounding community for fifteen years.   Although short-lived, its legacy remains a vital part of the history of this
            part of Yoakum County."   2000

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Compiled from Records
of the
Texas and Yoakum County Historical Commissions 2006