LEON POWELL, TX
LEON POWELL, TEXAS. Leon Powell was on Farm Road 1676 fifteen miles south of Big Lake in northern Crockett County. It was established as an oil-company camp to provide residences for workers and their families in the isolated Powell oilfield. Oil was discovered in the Powell (or World) field on January 8, 1923, and Leon Powell was built in the 1930s. The camp was named for the rancher on whose land the field and camp were located. By 1940 only a small population lived there, and by the end of the 1950s, like most Permian Basin oil-company camps, Leon Powell was abandoned. In 1990 little evidence of it was found. Leon Powell represented a way of life in the Permian Basin oil patch between 1925 and 1959. Over 500 such camps dotted the stark landscape by 1941. Because roads were unimproved and communications were limited, company camps were necessary for the maintenance of operations in the oilfields. People who lived in them became close-knit. With the advent of paved roads, dependable automobiles, and mobile radios, company camps were closed by the end of the 1950s, and the buildings were sold.
Lois Collins, "The Significance of Oil Company Camps in the Development of the Permian Basin, "Permian Historical Annual 28 (December 1988). Crockett County Historical Society, History of Crockett County (San Angelo: Anchor, 1976).