SKELLYTOWN, TEXAS. Skellytown, on State Highway 152 in northeastern Carson County, is named for the Skelly Oil Company, which brought in the surrounding oilfields during the 1920s. In 1926 the company purchased a 320-acre lease from Henry Schafer, a local rancher on whose land the Roxana oil pool was located. Schafer platted a new townsite, which he named Skelly in honor of the company's founder and president, William Grove Skelly, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since it was between the neighboring oil camps of Roxana to the north and Noelette to the east Skellytown experienced only limited growth. The first businesses were company-owned supply houses. There were no utilities, and the populace was compelled to buy water hauled in tanks and burn wood for fuel. In 1927 the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway built a branch line north from White Deer to the oilfields and established its depot at a site just north of Skelly. Subsequently, all three camps moved their businesses to the new site and formed the Skellytown Townsite Company. Within four months Skellytown had two refineries, a carbon black plant, and over 100 oil wells in its trade territory. Soon the new town's Main and Roosevelt streets boomed. In addition to machine shops, warehouses, and lumberyards, Skellytown had seven grocery stores, three drugstores, a hotel, a pool hall, a dance hall, a movie house, several rooming houses, beauty parlors, barbershops, cafes, dry cleaning shops, furniture and hardware stores, filling stations, and garages. A post office was opened in January 1927, and a weekly newspaper, the Roxana-Skellytown News, was launched. Panhandle Power and Light provided utilities, and Dr. F. S. Coolen opened a four-room emergency hospital. The White Deer Ice and Cold Storage Company erected a plant in Skellytown. An elementary school was also begun during this time. It had two grades in each room, two pupils in every seat, and only three teachers.
The population of Skellytown fell from 450 in 1931 to 154 in 1933. By 1943, however, it had risen to 650, due mainly to the growth of war industries. In 1958 the citizens of Skellytown voted to incorporate with a mayor-commission form of government. Subsequently the city built a modern sewer and water system. By 1984 Skellytown had ten businesses, four churches, a town hall, a fire station, a modern school, a library, a ballpark, a small airport, and a population of 899. In 1990 the population was 664. By 2000 the population was 610 with twenty businesses.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "Skellytown, TX," accessed May 31, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hls54.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles