Location and population
Best is located in Reagan County about 85 miles (135 km) west of San Angelo, Texas. In 2010, the town had a population of 1. It is one of the four major communities in Reagan County according to the Handbook of Texas. Best was served by the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway.
Oil was discovered in the area in 1923. The town is reportedly named after Tom Best, an English stockholder of the Orient Railroad, which established a railroad switching station in the town in 1924. The town grew rapidly, reaching a population of 3,500 by 1925.
The rapid growth of the town was accompanied by a wild reputation, which was portrayed in the Clyde Ragsdale novel, The Big Fist. A commonly used slogan was coined that “the town with the Best name in the world and worst reputation.”
The population of the town declined after 1925 to 300 by 1945. In the late 1950s National Supply Company still operated an oilfield supply store. The population in 1990 was 25, and by 2010 had declined to just 1.
- Ragsdale, C., The Big Fist, Dell Publishers, 1950. Summarized at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-07-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Handbook of Texas Online - REAGAN COUNTY
- BEST, TX | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)
- 2013 Official Travel Map, Texas Department of Transportation
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