Electra, Texas

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Electra, Texas
City
Motto: "Wichita County's Best Kept Secret"
Location of Electra, Texas
Location of Electra, Texas
Wichita County Electra.svg
Coordinates: 34°1′51″N 98°55′2″W / 34.03083°N 98.91722°W / 34.03083; -98.91722Coordinates: 34°1′51″N 98°55′2″W / 34.03083°N 98.91722°W / 34.03083; -98.91722
Country United States
State Texas
County Wichita
Area
 • Total 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Land 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,220 ft (372 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 3,168
 • Density 1,299.0/sq mi (501.5/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 76360
Area code(s) 940
FIPS code 48-22984[1]
GNIS feature ID 1356894[2]

Electra is a city in Wichita County, Texas, United States. It is part of the Wichita Falls, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United States Census Bureau counted Electra's population as 3,168 at the 2000 census and estimated it to be 2,891 as of 2006.[3] Electra claims the title of Pump Jack Capital of Texas, a title made official by the state in 2001,[4] and has celebrated an annual Pump Jack Festival since 2002.[5]

History[edit]

Daniel Waggoner started a ranch in present-day Electra in 1852. Around thirty years later, the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway was built, and its railroad tracks ran through the area. In 1885, Waggoner's son, William Thomas Waggoner, successfully lobbied railroad executives to build a railroad station at the site. By this time, the Waggoner ranch covered a half-million acres. Up until this time, the town was called Waggoner, but following the building of the station and a post office in 1889, it was dubbed Beaver Switch, after the nearby Beaver Creek. The opening of 56,000 acres (230 km2) of land north of the railroad station brought more farmers to the area. The town was renamed again in 1907, this time after Waggoner's daughter, Electra.

Water can be scarce in this region of Texas, so Waggoner started drilling for water for the towns new residents. Most of these drilling sites were befouled by crude oil, which made the water unfit for drinking. Three years later, a developer from Fort Worth named Solomon Williams bought the land from Waggoner. Sooner thereafter, he annexed nearby land, subdivided the land, and placed advertisements in national media trying to increase the population. His efforts were successful, and the town grew from a population of 500 to 1,000 between 1907 and 1910. The Waggoner family, still today, owns much of the same land they did in the beginning and still drill for oil in those parts.

In 1911, the Electra Independent School District was created.

On April 1, 1911, the Clayco gusher brought forth an oil strike. Word spread quickly, and the population increased fourfold over a period of months. Fortunately, there was already some infrastructure built in the town to handle the new residents.

Jasper "Jake" Smith, III (born 1935) of Vivian in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, worked in the summer of 1954 in the oil field of Electra. In his autobiography, Dinner with Mobutu: A Chronicle of My Life and Times, he recalls his experience:

...We were fully integrated into the community of young men of Electra. I discovered that Texans were welcoming to newcomers, and I soon felt right at home.

Anyone who has seen the movie The Last Picture Show or read the book might recognize Electra, Texas. The Larry McMurtry novel was set in this approximate locale at this particular time - 1954.[6] The residents were pretty accurately portrayed in the novel. The main pasttime for my cohort group was drinking beer and fighting. Some of the local toughs liked to travel to Wichita Falls to pick fights with airmen from the local Air Force base. I tried to avoid these fisticuffs since it was certain I would get my ass kicked.

Electra was dry and dusty with hardly any big trees. The fields were covered with mesquite bushes, six to eight feet tall covered with two-inch thorns. People outside Texas had not yet discovered that mesquite is a powerful aromatic wood for smoking meat; so this prickly bush was considered a great nuisance, rather than a potential resource. The main assignment for us college boys working in the Electra oil field that year was to cut down mesquite bushes which crowded in on the oil fields. ... We would start whacking away at the mesquite bushes. By the end of the day, most of us were covered with bloody punctures from the sharp thorns. After a few days, these injuries usually became infected, causing one or more of the young roustabouts to visit the company doctor. About midway through the summer, the company decided that this mesquite project was getting to be too risky; so we were given other assignments.[7]

In 1936, Electra had well over 6,000 residents, by the 1960s, the population had decreased to just over 5,000. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was growing, and many people moved away. By 2000, Electra's population had fallen to about 3,000.

Geography[edit]

Electra is located at 34°1′51″N 98°55′2″W / 34.03083°N 98.91722°W / 34.03083; -98.91722 (34.030809, -98.917281).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.3 km²), all of it land.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 3,168 people, 1,279 households, and 860 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,299.0 people per square mile (501.3/km²). There were 1,529 housing units at an average density of 626.9 per square mile (241.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.66% White, 4.58% African American, 1.10% Native American, 0.06% Asian, 4.29% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.68% of the population.

There were 1,279 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,022, and the median income for a family was $30,116. Males had a median income of $25,610 versus $17,292 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,213. About 17.8% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.3% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

The City of Electra is served by the Electra Independent School District, which is composed of 210 square miles (540 km2).

There are three public schools. B.M. Dinsmore Elementary School has 225 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. Electra Junior High has 172 students in grades five through eight. Electra High School has 149 students enrolled in ninth through twelfth grades. Electra High School's athletic teams are called the Tigers. The student/teacher ratio at each of the schools is 14:1, 13:1, and 9:1, respectively.

Notable people[edit]

  • Ace Reid - Artist and humorist. Grew up and lived in Electra until 1943 when he joined the Navy.[9]

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Electra has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[10]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFPopulation?_event=Search&_name=Electra&_state=04000US48&_county=Electra&_cityTown=Electra&_zip=&_sse=on&_lang=en&pctxt=fph
  4. ^ Bernadette Pruitt."A fading town's liquid legacy: Once-thriving Electra hopes 'Pump Jack' title brings new fortune," The Dallas Morning News, September 23, 2001. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
  5. ^ First Pump Jack Festival, photographs of the April 20, 2002, festival. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
  6. ^ Larry McMurtry is a native of Archer City, Texas, not Electra, but Jasper "Jake" Smith, III, son of then Louisiana State Representative Jasper K. Smith, is making a loose comparison. The novel was during the Korean War, which ended in mid-1953.
  7. ^ Jake Smith, Dinner with Mobutu: A Chronicle of My Life and Times. Xlibris Corporation. 2005. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-1413499438. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ *Asa Elmer (Ace) Reid, Jr. (1925-1991) at Handbook of Texas OnLine]
  10. ^ Climate Summary for Electra, Texas

External links[edit]