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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Memories Outlast Physical Reminders

The smokestack at Thurber, Texas
Thurber, Texas once claimed to be the largest town between Fort Worth and El Paso. Now only the towering smokestack remains of a once prosperous business and a thriving community.  It took life in 1886 with a coal mine begun by the Johnson brothers, Harvey and William. Workers who were recruited came from Italy, Poland, Britain, and Ireland among the eighteen nations represented. Manufacture of brick began in 1897 and eventually the plant was making 80,000 bricks daily.

During the first quarter of the twentieth century, railroads changed from coal to oil as fuel, diminishing  the markets for coal. When the company’s investors switched to developing oil leases, production of bricks decreased. The company’s move to its corporate location in Fort Worth in the early 30's brought the demise of Thurber and it became little more than a ghost town. Only a handful of buildings still exist where once 10,000 residents claimed Thurber ‘home.”

A smokestack, visible alongside Interstate 20 about seventy-five miles west of Fort Worth, is all that remains of a once-bustling town... a few buildings, some historical markers and memories planted deep in those who remember.

And yet, former inhabitants continue to gather on regular occasions because memories are more permanent monuments than anything subject to the erosion of time.  


  1. What a great little piece of history. Thank you so very much for sharing with us all.

  2. It's interesting how the passing down of memories (probably by word of mouth from generation to generation) has kept this seemingly ghost town alive for the people who continue to regularly gather together. There must be some fun tales that bind these folks together.