Texon: Legacy of an Oil Town


From 1924 to 1962, Texon was a model company oil town in Reagan County, Texas. Pittsburgh-based Big Lake Oil Company developed the town site next to the Big Lake Oil Field and Santa Rita No. 1, the discovery well on University of Texas lands in the Permian Basin. Pres. Levi Smith ensured that company employees and their families enjoyed comfortable housing and community amenities, including a grade school, hospital, nondenominational church, theater, swimming pool, and baseball park, as well as a café and dry goods, grocery, and drugstores. By the end of World War II, the Big Lake Field’s declining production meant a smaller workforce and a declining Texon population. Plymouth Oil assumed ownership in 1956 and six years later sold out to Marathon Oil, which ended company support for the town. At annual reunions, however, former residents—who remember Oiler baseball, scouting, Sunday school, and Labor Day celebrations—have kept the Texon experience alive.

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