Wink, Texas

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Wink, Texas
Texas State Highway 115 in Wink
Coordinates: 31°45′16″N 103°9′15″W / 31.75444°N 103.15417°W / 31.75444; -103.15417Coordinates: 31°45′16″N 103°9′15″W / 31.75444°N 103.15417°W / 31.75444; -103.15417
Country United States
State Texas
County Winkler
 • Total 1.2 sq mi (3 km2)
 • Land 1.2 sq mi (3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,792 ft (851 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 940
 • Density 780/sq mi (300/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 79789
Area code(s) 432
FIPS code 48-79768[1]
GNIS feature ID 1371804[2]

Wink is a city in Winkler County, Texas, United States. The population was 940 at the 2010 census.[3]

Wink was a temporary childhood home to singer and songwriter Roy Orbison, although he was born in Vernon, Texas. Orbison would later describe the major components of life in Wink as "football, oil fields, oil, grease and sand",[4] and in later years expressed relief that he was able to leave the desolate town.[note 1][5]


Wink began in 1926, when oil was discovered in Hendrick oilfield in Winkler County. By mid-1927 the Wink Townsite Company was selling lots in Horse Wells pasture of the T. G. Hendrick Ranch. The oil boom brought new people to Wink, causing a shortage of housing. Newcomers set up tents and built makeshift houses. Wink was originally named Winkler, Texas for the county. When a post office was requested, postal authorities notified the applicant that there was a post office bearing that name already in operation. The citizens shortened the name to Wink and received a post office in 1927. In that year, the first public school was organized, and a temporary building was constructed. A Sunday school was started by November 1927, and the population of the town was reported at 3,500. By 1929 that number climbed to 6,000. It is possible the actual population would have been around 10,000 to 25,000 people.[6][7]

The boom brought lawlessness to Wink, including bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling. Even the city government, which was organized on June 4, 1928, came under the control of a well-organized underworld. On October 16, 1928, District Judge Charles Klapproth declared the incorporation election void, and the city government was reorganized. In December 1928, the first municipal building, a jail, was constructed. In 1929 the Texas-New Mexico Railroad built its tracks from Wink Junction to Wink, connecting the town to Monahans and New Mexico.

In the 1930s the boom declined; the population hovered under 4,000, and the number of businesses fluctuated between 50 and 180. By 1933 the town was legally incorporated. Five hospitals and fifteen doctors served injured oilfield workers, expectant mothers, and epidemic victims. Throughout the 1940s the population continued to decline from 1,945 to 1,521, and the number of businesses decreased from 130 to 40.

In December 1947, Winkler County State Bank opened in Wink. Wink entered the 1950s with a stable community including a population of just over 1,500. The number of businesses varied in the decade from twenty-five to fifty. In 1958 the railroad from Wink Junction to Wink was abandoned. During the early 1960s the population rose to over 1,800 but dipped to under 1,200. By 1968 the number of businesses varied between 55 and 20.

In July 1960, the federal government approved an application by Wink for more than a million dollars in urban renewal funds to upgrade and rehabilitate 221 acres (89 ha) within the city limits of Wink. National attention focused on the small oil town, which used the money for paving and curb and gutter work.

The population continued to decline to under 1,200 in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1970s the oil economy improved, but the number of businesses slipped to a low of five by the late 1980s. At the end of the 1980s Wink operated on a limited budget, based on low tax rates. In 1990 Wink remained a small oil town with a population of 1,189. This had fallen to 919 by 2000, but the 2010 count indicated a slight rebound, with 940 citizens residing in Wink.


Wink is located at 31°45′16″N 103°9′15″W / 31.75444°N 103.15417°W / 31.75444; -103.15417 (31.754497, 103.154117). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), all land.[8]


According to the NOAA's National Weather Service, Wink is often one of the hottest locations in the United States for daily maximum shade temperatures. Temperatures throughout the summer will often be above 105 °F (41 °C) and readings above 110 °F (43 °C) occur every summer.[9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20161,046[10]11.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 919 people, 341 households, and 260 families residing in the city. The population density was 809.1 people per square mile (311.3/km²). There were 437 housing units at an average density of 384.8 per square mile (148.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.6% Caucasian, 0.9% African American, 0.3% Native American, 10.9% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.1% of the population.

There were 341 households out of which 42.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.2% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.8% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,068, and the median income for a family was $44,750. Males had a median income of $32,266 versus $20,526 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,888. About 10.0% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 20.8% of those age 65 or over.


Wink is served by the Wink-Loving Independent School District.

Notable people[edit]

Singer/songwriter Roy Orbison grew up in Wink.

Wink is the hometown of famed adventure/lifestyle photographer, Casey McCallister.

The character Cassie Feder in the TV series I'm Dying Up Here comes from Wink.


  1. ^ Ellis Amburn argues that Orbison was bullied and ostracized while in Wink and that after he became famous, he gave conflicting reports to local Texas newspapers claiming it was still home to him, while simultaneously maligning the town to Rolling Stone. (Amburn, pp. 11–20.)


  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. ^ Wink at City-Data
  4. ^ Escott, Colin (1990). Biography insert to The Legendary Roy Orbison CD box set, Sony. ASIN: B0000027E2
  5. ^ Pond, Steve (January 26, 1989). "Roy Orbison's Triumphs and Tragedies". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Wylene Kirk, "Early Post Offices and Towns in the Permian Basin Area," Texas Permian Historical Annual 1 (August 1961). Roger M. and Diana Davids Olien, Oil Booms (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982). A History of Winkler County (Kermit, Texas: Winkler County Historical Commission, 1984). Julia Cauble Smith. Retrieved, 2009-12-23
  7. ^ Texas Historical Commission, Wink Historical Marker. Retrieved, 2009-12-23
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer Files 2016-Places-Texas". US Census. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  9. ^ National Weather Service Office for Midland/Odessa Tx
  10. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.