Electra, Texas

Electra is a city in Wichita County, Texas, United States. It is part of the Wichita Falls metropolitan statistical area. The population was 2,791 at the 2010 census.[3], down from 3,168 in 2000. Electra claims the title of Pump Jack Capital of Texas, a title made official by the state in 2001,[4] and has celebrated an annual Pump Jack Festival since 2002.[5] It was named in honor of Electra Waggoner, an heiress to the Waggoner Ranch.[6]

Electra, Texas
Liberty Theater, Electra, showing a Mary Pickford movie in 1919.
Liberty Theater, Electra, showing a Mary Pickford movie in 1919.
"Wichita County's Best Kept Secret"
Location of Electra, Texas
Location of Electra, Texas
Wichita County Electra
Coordinates: 34°1′51″N 98°55′2″W / 34.03083°N 98.91722°WCoordinates: 34°1′51″N 98°55′2″W / 34.03083°N 98.91722°W
CountryUnited States
 • Total2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Land2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
1,220 ft (372 m)
 • Total2,791
 • Density1,200/sq mi (440/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)940
FIPS code48-22984[1]
GNIS feature ID1356894[2]
P. F. Co.'s 55, 000 Oil Tank struck by lightning Aug. 5, 1912, Electra, Texas (7489933702)
55, 000 bbl Oil Tank struck by lightning. Aug. 5, 1912, Electra, Texas


Daniel Waggoner started a ranch in present-day Electra in 1852. Around 30 years later, the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway was built, and its railroad tracks ran through the area. In 1885, Waggoner's son, William Thomas Waggoner, successfully lobbied railroad executives to build a railroad station at the site. By this time, the Waggoner ranch covered a half-million acres. Until this time, the town was called Waggoner, but following the building of the station and a post office in 1889, it was dubbed Beaver Switch, after the nearby Beaver Creek. The opening of 56,000-acre (230 km2) of land north of the railroad station brought more farmers to the area. The town was renamed again in 1907, this time after Waggoner's daughter, Electra Waggoner.

Water can be scarce in this region of Texas, so Waggoner started drilling for water for the town's new residents. Most of these drilling sites were befouled by crude oil, which made the water unfit for drinking. Three years later, a developer from Fort Worth named Solomon Williams bought the land from Waggoner. Sooner thereafter, he annexed nearby land, subdivided the land, and placed advertisements in national media trying to increase the population. His efforts were successful, and the town grew from a population of 500 to 1,000 between 1907 and 1910. The Waggoner family, still today, owns much of the same land they did in the beginning and still drill for oil in those parts.

In 1911, the Electra Independent School District was created.

On April 1, 1911, the Clayco gusher brought in an oil strike. Word spread quickly, and the population increased four-fold over a period of months. Fortunately, some infrastructure was already built in the town to handle the new residents.

Jasper "Jake" Smith, III (born 1935) of Vivian, Louisiana, worked in the summer of 1954 in the oil field of Electra. In his autobiography, Dinner with Mobutu: A Chronicle of My Life and Times, he recalls his experience:

...We were fully integrated into the community of young men of Electra. I discovered that Texans were welcoming to newcomers, and I soon felt right at home.

Anyone who has seen the movie The Last Picture Show or read the book might recognize Electra, Texas. The Larry McMurtry novel was set in this approximate locale at this particular time – 1954.[7] The residents were pretty accurately portrayed in the novel. The main pastime for my cohort group was drinking beer and fighting. Some of the local toughs liked to travel to Wichita Falls to pick fights with airmen from the local Air Force base. I tried to avoid these fisticuffs since it was certain I would get my ass kicked.

Electra was dry and dusty with hardly any big trees. The fields were covered with mesquite bushes, six to eight feet tall covered with two-inch thorns. People outside Texas had not yet discovered that mesquite is a powerful aromatic wood for smoking meat; so this prickly bush was considered a great nuisance, rather than a potential resource. The main assignment for us college boys working in the Electra oil field that year was to cut down mesquite bushes which crowded in on the oil fields. ... We would start whacking away at the mesquite bushes. By the end of the day, most of us were covered with bloody punctures from the sharp thorns. After a few days, these injuries usually became infected, causing one or more of the young roustabouts to visit the company doctor. About midway through the summer, the company decided that this mesquite project was getting to be too risky; so we were given other assignments.[8]

In 1936, Electra had well over 6,000 residents, but by the 1960s, the population had decreased to just over 5,000. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was growing, and many people moved away. By 2000, Electra's population had fallen to about 3,000.


Electra is located at 34°1′51″N 98°55′2″W / 34.03083°N 98.91722°W (34.030809, -98.917281).[9] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.4 mi2 (6.3 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20162,722[10]−2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[1] of 2000, 3,168 people, 1,279 households, and 860 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,299.0 people per square mile (501.3/km²). The 1,529 housing units averaged 626.9 per mi2 (241.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.66% White, 4.58% African American, 1.10% Native American, 0.06% Asian, 4.29% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 8.68% of the population.

Of the 1,279 households, 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were not families; 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was distributed as 27.7% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,022, and for a family was $30,116. Males had a median income of $25,610 versus $17,292 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,213. About 17.8% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.3% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.


The City of Electra is served by the Electra Independent School District, which is composed of 210 sq mi (540 km2).

The three public schools are: B.M. Dinsmore Elementary School, with 225 students enrolled in prekindergarten through fourth grade; Electra Junior High with 172 students in grades five through eight; and Electra High School with 149 students enrolled in ninth through 12th grades. Electra High School's athletic teams are called the Tigers. The student/teacher ratio at each of the schools is 14:1, 13:1, and 9:1, respectively.

Notable people

  • Ace Reid – An artist and humorist, he grew up and lived in Electra until 1943, when he joined the Navy.[12]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Electra has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.[13]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Counts, 2010 Census of Population and Housing" (PDF). Texas: 2010. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  4. ^ Bernadette Pruitt."A fading town's liquid legacy: Once-thriving Electra hopes 'Pump Jack' title brings new fortune," The Dallas Morning News, September 23, 2001. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
  5. ^ First Pump Jack Festival, photographs of the April 20, 2002, festival. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
  6. ^ "Waggoner Ranch: History". Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  7. ^ Larry McMurtry is a native of Archer City, Texas, not Electra, but Jasper "Jake" Smith, III, son of then Louisiana State Representative Jasper K. Smith, is making a loose comparison. The novel was during the Korean War, which ended in mid-1953.
  8. ^ Jake Smith, Dinner with Mobutu: A Chronicle of My Life and Times. Xlibris Corporation. 2005. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-1413499438. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ *Asa Elmer (Ace) Reid, Jr. (1925-1991) at Handbook of Texas OnLine]
  13. ^ "Electra, Texas Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 13 March 2018.

Further reading

External links

Ace Reid

Ace Reid (March 10, 1925 – November 10, 1991) was the creator of the cartoon Cowpokes and Western humorist. Cowpokes, at one time, ran in over 400 weekly newspapers across the United States. He produced many popular cartoon books and calendars during his lifetime.

He was born on March 10, 1925, at Lelia Lake, Texas (near Amarillo). He was the son of Asa E. Reid, Sr., and Callie Miles Bishop. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Electra, Texas, where he grew up ranching and cowboying.

During World War II, he served as a machinist's mate in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific aboard the USS Lanier . Cowpokes was born was on board the Lanier "The Sorry Salt" was a cartoon he drew for the ship's newspaper. After the war, "The Sorry Salt" became "Jake", his primary character.

On September 11, 1949, in Dallas, he married Madge Parmley, daughter of the doctor in Electra, T. H. Parmley. They moved to Kerrville, Texas, in 1952. Ace’s first cartoon appeared in West Texas Livestock Weekly that same year. Two years later, their son and only child, Stan, was born.

Reid appeared in the early gatherings of the American Cowboy Culture Association, which holds the annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration each September in Lubbock, Texas.Ace and Madge were living in Kerrville at the time of his death on November 10, 1991. Madge still lives in Kerrville and has kept Cowpokes going since Ace's death.

Allie Tennant

Allie Victoria Tennant (1892 or 1898—1971) was an American sculptor born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Thomas Richard and Allie Virginia Brown Tennant. She worked primarily out of Dallas, Texas, where her most famous work Tejas Warrior was produced for the Hall of State at the Texas Centennial Exposition.

Tennant moved to Dallas as a young child and grew up there. It was in Dallas shere she first started studying art with local painter and teacher Vivian Aunspaugh (1869-1960) In 1927 she moved to New York City, where she studied at the Art Students League with Edward McCartan, and also with George Bridgman. In 1930 she traveled to Europe, where she stayed several years, returning too New York to study with Eugene Steinhof.During the Great Depression US President Franklin Deleno Roosevelt initiated the New Deal. One of its programs was the Federal Art Projects under which the federal government hired artists, mostly painters and sculptors to create art for a variety of public places, often post offices. For such a program Tennant created three plaster reliefs, "Oil," "Cattle," and "Wheat" for the USPO in Electra, Texas.Tennant showed at the 1939 New York World's Fair American art exhibition.Tennant was a member of the National Sculpture Society and taught art at the Art Institute of Dallas and at adult evening education.She died on December 19, 1971, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Dallas.

Austin Bridge Company

Austin Bridge Company was a bridge company based in Dallas, Texas. It fabricated and built a number of bridges that are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

It eventually became part of Austin Industries.Beaver Creek Bridge (Electra, Texas) is one of its works, from 1925-26.

Its works include:

Beaver Creek Bridge (Electra, Texas), FM 2326, 1 mi W of jct. with TX 25 Electra, Texas Austin Bridge Company, NRHP-listed

Colorado River Bridge, S. Richmond Rd. (Old US 59) across the Colorado R., Wharton, Texas Austin Bridge Company, NRHP-listed

Regency Suspension Bridge, 0.75 mi. S of Regency at Colorado River, Regency, Texas, Austin Bridge Co., NRHP-listed

State Highway 29 Bridge at the Colorado River, TX 29 at the Llano County line Buchanan Dam, Texas, Austin Bridge Co., et al., NRHP-listed

State Highway 3 Bridge at the Colorado River, US 90, .6 mi. E of jct. with Loop 329 Columbus, Texas, Austin Bridge Co., et al., NRHP-listed

State Highway 3 Bridge at the Trinity River, US 90, 1.3 mi. W of jct. with FM 2684 Liberty, Texas, Austin Bridge Company, NRHP-listed

State Highway 34 Bridge at the Trinity River, TX 34 at the Ellis and Kaufman county line, Rosser, Texas Austin Bridge Co., et al., NRHP-listed

State Highway 53 Bridge at the Leon River, FM 817, 2.5 mi. E of jct. with FM 93 Belton, Texas, Austin Bridge Company, et al., NRHP-listed

State Highway 71 Bridge at the Colorado River, TX 71, .8 mi E of jct. with FM 609 La Grange, Texas, Austin Bridge Company, NRHP-listed

Beaver Creek Bridge

Beaver Creek Bridge may refer to:

in the United States(by state)

Beaver Creek Bridge (Ogden, Iowa), listed on the NRHP in Iowa

Beaver Creek Bridge (Perry, Iowa), listed on the NRHP in Iowa

Beaver Creek Bridge (Schleswig, Iowa), listed on the NRHP in Iowa

Beaver Creek Native Stone Bridge, Beaver, KS, listed on the NRHP in Kansas

Beaver Creek Bridge (Finley, North Dakota), listed on the NRHP in North Dakota

Beaver Creek Bridge (Hot Springs, South Dakota), listed on the NRHP in South Dakota

Beaver Creek Bridge (Electra, Texas), listed on the NRHP in Texas

Beaver Creek Bridge (Electra, Texas)

Beaver Creek Bridge, also known as FM 2326 Bridge at Beaver Creek or WC2215-02-002, is a historic bridge built during 1925-1926 near Electra in Wichita County, Texas. It brings Farm-to-Market Road over Beaver Creek, connecting the Beaver Creek community with the Rock Crossing oilfield area in Wilbarger County.It consists of three 60-foot (18 m) riveted Warren pony truss spans and a concrete girder approach span, built to Texas Highway Department standard designs. Its spans were fabricated by, and the bridge was built by, the Austin Bridge Company of Dallas, Texas.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The bridge was then eligible for rehabilitation but not yet replacement.

Dick Adkins

Richard Earl Adkins (March 3, 1920 – September 12, 1955) was a professional baseball player. He was a shortstop for one season (1942) with the Philadelphia Athletics. For his career, he compiled a .143 batting average in 7 at-bats.

He was born and later died in Electra, Texas at the age of 35.

Electra High School

Electra High School is a public high school in Electra, Texas. It is part of the Electra Independent School District located in western Wichita County. In 2013, the school was rated "Improvement Required" by the Texas Education Agency.

Electra Independent School District

Electra Independent School District is a public school district based in Electra, Texas (USA). In 2007, the district received a rating of "Academically Acceptable" (AA) from the Texas Education Agency.

In 2009, the school district was rated "academically acceptable" by the Texas Education Agency.

Electra Waggoner

Electra Waggoner (January 6, 1882 – November 26, 1925) was an American rancher and socialite from Texas. She was an heiress to the Waggoner Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the United States. The town of Electra, Texas was named in her honor.

Electra Waggoner Biggs

Electra Waggoner Biggs (November 8, 1912 – April 23, 2001) was a Texas-born heiress, socialite and sculptor, widely known as owner of the famous Waggoner Ranch in Texas as well as her sculptures of Will Rogers, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Bob Hope and Knute Rockne — and for having both a plane, the Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprop, and a car, the Buick Electra, named after her, the latter by her brother-in-law, Harlow H. Curtice, former president of Buick and later president of General Motors.

Farmer Ray

Robert Henry "Farmer" Ray (September 17, 1886 – March 11, 1963) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. Ray played for the St. Louis Browns in the 1910 season. In 21 career games, he had a 4-10 record, with a 3.58 ERA. He batted left and threw right-handed.

Ray was born in Fort Lyon, Colorado, and died in Electra, Texas.

Ivan Davis

Ivan Roy Davis, Jr. (February 4, 1932 – March 12, 2018) was an internationally renowned American classical pianist and a member of the faculty at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music for over four decades.

Jimmy Mankins

James Earl Mankins, Sr. (February 9, 1926 – August 20, 2013) was an American businessman and politician.

Born in Electra, Texas, Mankins served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Mankins owned a trucking business in Kilgore, Texas. He served in the Texas House of Representatives 1974-1982 as a Democrat. Mankins died in Longview, Texas.


KOLI is a radio station serving Wichita Falls, Texas and Vicinity with a country music format, based in Texas country to distinguish it from sister KLUR which plays mainstream country. It operates on FM frequency 94.9 MHz and is under ownership of Cumulus Media. It is the radio flagship station for the Wichita Falls Wildcats hockey team.


KQXC-FM (branded as Hot 103.9) is a radio station serving Wichita Falls, Texas and Vicinity with a Rhythmic Top 40 format. It operates on FM frequency 103.9 MHz and is under ownership of Cumulus Media.

Louis Bettcher

Louis A. Bettcher, Jr. (May 7, 1914 – December 14, 1999) was an American inventor and manufacturer of handheld powered circular knives used in the meat processing industry. He was the founder and president of Bettcher Industries, Inc., a worldwide manufacturer of precision cutting and trimming tools for meat processing and industrial applications.

Russell Scott (boxer)

Russell Scott (March 27, 1917 – January 20, 1980), better known as Buddy Scott, was an American heavyweight professional boxer.Russell Scott was born on March 27, 1917 in Electra, Texas. He was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs. His boxing record is

won 114 (KO 61) + lost 31 (KO 6) and drawn 6 = 151

rounds boxed 1112 KO% 40.4. Russell Scott is the younger brother of lightweight boxer Howard Scott. Most of Russell Scott's losses were at the end of his career.

His death came in January 20, 1980 about 28 years after he retired from boxing. He was married three times, first to Geraldine Nichols, and then to Helen Green and last to Betty Brown. Russell had three daughters and one son. He went to George Washington University on an American football scholarship.

Treva Throneberry

Treva Joyce Throneberry (born May 18, 1969) is an American woman who spent most of her twenties pretending to be a teenager and engaging in other forms of con artistry, for which she would eventually be convicted and imprisoned. She made numerous false claims of sexual abuse, including that she was a victim of satanic ritual abuse to gain money. During this time she traveled the United States, residing in foster homes, colleges and with any family that would take her in, using false identities. Her father, Carl Throneberry, said: "She's just going cross-country and using different names and receiving welfare."As of 2003, she falsely claimed to be a woman named Brianna Stewart who was born in 1981.

Arrested in 2001 and charged with fraud and perjury, her true identity was established by DNA testing. Court-appointed psychologists deemed Throneberry to not be delusional, and that she knew what she was doing. She was convicted and was given a three-year sentence at a correctional center in Gig Harbor, Washington. Throneberry was released after serving two years and three months of her sentence.

Waggoner National Bank of Vernon

The Waggoner National Bank of Vernon is a historic local bank in Vernon and Electra, Texas, in the United States.

Municipalities and communities of Wichita County, Texas, United States

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