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Borger, Texas
City
Downtown Borger
Downtown Borger
Nickname(s): Smokey City
Location of Borger, Texas
Location of Borger, Texas
Hutchinson County Borger.svg
Country United States
State Texas
County Hutchinson
Area
 • Total 8.7 sq mi (22.6 km2)
 • Land 8.7 sq mi (22.6 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 3,077 ft (938 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 13,251
 • Density 1,637.9/sq mi (632.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP codes 79007-79008
Area code 806
FIPS code 48-09556
GNIS feature ID 1352700
Website Borger, Texas
City Hall IMG 0618
Borger City Hall
Refinery IMG 0599
An oil refinery in Borger

Borger (/ˈbɔərər/ BOAR-jər) is the largest city in Hutchinson County, Texas, United States. The population was 13,251 at the 2010 census. Borger is named for businessman Asa Philip "Ace" Borger, who also established the Hutchinson County seat of Stinnett and several other small towns in Texas and Oklahoma.

History

The first Panhandle oil well was drilled in the Borger area on May 2, 1921, on the 6666 (the "Four Sixes") Ranch of S.B. Burnett. The strike was of a poor quality, and later wells in Borger and Pampa spurred the petroleum boom. The first rotary drilling rig, built at the then staggering price of $25,000, was placed into use near Borger by W.T. Willis, J.E. Trigg, and H.D. Lewis. The 6-inch-diameter (150 mm) drill could pierce through rock.

Ace Borger and his business partner John R. Miller purchased a 240-acre (0.97 km2) townsite near the Canadian River in March 1926 after the discovery of oil in the vicinity. Within a few months time, the boomtown had swelled to a population of 45,000, most lured by sensational advertising and "black gold". In October 1926, the city charter was adopted, and Miller was elected mayor. By this time the Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway had completed the spur line to Borger, a post office had opened, and a school district was established. The boomtown of Borger soon had steam-generated electricity, telephone service, a hotel, and a jail. Regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton depicted this period of Borger in his large painting "Boomtown".

In the months that followed, oilmen, roughnecks, prospectors, panhandlers and fortune seekers were joined by cardsharks, bootleggers and drug dealers. The city became known as "Booger Town" as it attracted criminals and fugitives from the law. The town government soon fell under control of an organized crime syndicate led by Mayor Miller's shady associate, "Two-Gun Dick" Herwig. Murder and robbery became an everyday occurrence, and illegal moonshining and home brewing flourished under the fatherly watch of Herwig and his henchmen, including W. J. (Shine) Popejoy, the king of the Texas bootleggers. Borger became so notorious that in the spring of 1927 Texas Governor Dan Moody sent a force of Texas Rangers to rein in the town. The Texas Rangers were led by Captains Frank Hamer and Thomas R. Hickman. (Hamer would go on to later fame and even infamy as the man who killed Bonnie and Clyde.)

The Texas Rangers did have a stabilizing effect, but Borger still struggled with lawlessness and violence into the 1930s, climaxing with the murder of District Attorney John A. Holmes by an assassin on September 18, 1929. This event caused Governor Moody to impose martial law for a month and send in state troops to help rid the town of its criminal element. Eventually Borger settled down.

By the late 1930s Borger was pushed from one era to another by the Great Depression. Phillips Petroleum and others profited from the oil fields in the area, but during this time the price of oil and gas dropped, ending the "boom" and the former rapid growth of Borger. Carbon black plants added black soot to the Dust Bowl storms, covering the town in layers of dark grime. "Okie" migrants forced off their foreclosed farms back in Oklahoma, found work in Borger plants and refineries. The Works Project Administration provided the town with new red brick streets as the ramshackle shacks throughout town were replaced by more permanent buildings. During World War II, synthetic rubber and other petroleum products became important in the Borger area. By the 1960s the Borger area was one of the largest producers of oil, carbon black, and petrochemicals and supplies in the state. The creation of nearby Lake Meredith also added to the town's economy as an important recreational area.

Today, Borger remains an important shipping point for agricultural produce as well as for the petroleum products produced there. Borger is the home of the world's largest inland petrochemical complexes, Chevron-Phillips Chemical Company which produces specialty chemicals and is the sole manufacturer of RYTON PPS plastics in the world. Phillips 66 Petroleum Company processes crude oil and natural gas liquids. Agrium manufactures nitrogen fertilizer in its Borger plant. Borger also has Sid Richardson Carbon Company, which produces rubber grade carbon black and is used to strengthen rubber tires, and Orion Engineered Carbons, Inc., which produces a variety of carbon blacks at its Borger facility.

The original townsite is said to have been founded around 1898 by John F. Weatherly, a rancher who built a dugout and gave the future town the grandiose name of Granada. Weatherly's wife wanted it named after her former home – a town in West Virginia called Isom.

In 1900 Weatherly opened a store in his ranchhouse which also became the first post office. Mrs. Weatherly opened a cafe and the community had a school opened by 1907. In October 1919, the mail was diverted through Plemons and the Isom post office closed.

Borger, TX Museum Boomtown Revisited Picture 2114
The Hutchinson County Historical Museum, also known as Boomtown Revisited, is located in downtown Borger.

The Weatherlys lost interest in the town they founded and moved to the nearby town of Panhandle in 1922. But they wisely retained ownership of all that was Isom. When oil was discovered in early 1926, Weatherly returned and moved the town to the oilfield spur of the railroad near Borger.

Isom was platted with all lots south of First Street being Isom, Texas, and all streets north in Borger. From June to December 1926, the towns were rivals.

Although the town had a railroad depot, several oil-well supply warehouses and no shortage of would-be citizens, a petition signed by 1,200 residents in early December declared Borger the winner. Isom's school merged with Borger's schools, driving the last stake into Isom.

The town has the dubious distinction of being the oldest of the townsites annexed by Borger.

During the winter of 1982–1983, Borger received a total of 58.7 inches of snow. This is the most snow that any Texas town has ever received during the same winter season.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, Borger has a total land area of 8.77 square miles (22.7 km2).

Climate data for Borger, Texas (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 51.0
(10.56)
55.3
(12.94)
63.6
(17.56)
72.3
(22.39)
80.8
(27.11)
88.8
(31.56)
92.8
(33.78)
90.0
(32.22)
84.2
(29)
73.5
(23.06)
60.8
(16)
50.1
(10.06)
72.0
(22.22)
Average low °F (°C) 25.3
(-3.72)
28.1
(-2.17)
34.9
(1.61)
43.2
(6.22)
53.1
(11.72)
62.1
(16.72)
66.5
(19.17)
65.4
(18.56)
57.7
(14.28)
46.1
(7.83)
34.5
(1.39)
25.8
(-3.44)
45.2
(7.33)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.74
(18.8)
0.71
(18)
1.55
(39.4)
1.82
(46.2)
2.77
(70.4)
3.30
(83.8)
2.76
(70.1)
3.59
(91.2)
2.13
(54.1)
1.93
(49)
1.04
(26.4)
0.83
(21.1)
23.16
(588.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 5.2
(13.2)
4.0
(10.2)
3.4
(8.6)
0.9
(2.3)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
2.1
(5.3)
5.3
(13.5)
21.1
(53.6)
Source: NOAA

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 6,532
1940 10,018 53.4%
1950 18,059 80.3%
1960 20,911 15.8%
1970 14,195 −32.1%
1980 15,837 11.6%
1990 15,675 −1.0%
2000 14,302 −8.8%
2010 13,251 −7.3%
Est. 2015 12,964 −2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Freedom Is Never Free IMG 0628
"Freedom Is Never Free" says the bench at the Borger Veterans Monument.
Morley IMG 0609
The Morley Theater in downtown Borger

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,251 people, 5,591 households, and 3,997 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,637.9 people per square mile (632.5/km²). There were 6,462 housing units at an average density of 740.1 per square mile (285.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.6% White, 3.6% African American, 1.7% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.36% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.70% of the population.

There were 5,591 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.204.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 27.8% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,653, and the median income for a family was $40,417. Males had a median income of $39,207 versus $19,654 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,869. About 9.7% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

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