A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 24, 2006
Pump Jack Capital of Texas (Electra nickname)

Electra in north Texas has about 5,000 oil pumps within a ten-mile radius. In 2001, the Texas lesiglature declared Electra to be the “Pump Jack Capital of Texas.” Electra has more pump jacks than it has people!

An annual Pump Jack Festival is held April 1st, when a gusher blew back in 1911. Some people, at first, had thought the reports were an April Fools’ joke.


History of Electra, Texas
HISTORY OF ELECTRA
Electra, named after the feisty daughter of cattle baron W.T. Waggoner, is located in the western edge of Wichita County. The Waggoners were pioneers in the area when they established their cattle headquarters here in 1878. Their property almost completely surrounded the original townsite. Confusion over the delivery of Waggoner mail and the name Beaver for nearby Beaver Creek led residents in 1902 to circulate a petition changing the name of the city to Electra in honor of Electra Waggoner. The townsite opened in October 1907. In 1911 an oil company leased a tract of land from W.T. and the famous North Texas Oil boom was begun as fortune seekers came to stake their claims.

Today, Electra continues its agricultural and oil impact in North Texas. Farm and ranch land surrounds the town and most every field is punctuated with an oil well. Manufacturing is another strong economic force to the city. 

Texas Dept. of Agriculture - Texas Yes!
Destination:
Electra, “Pump Jack Capital of Texas”

Where You’ll Find It:
Panhandle Plains Region; at US 287; between Vernon and Wichita Falls. (Wichita County)

Texans Who Call This Home:
3,100

Snapshot:
From cattle railhead to oil boomtown, Electra’s fortunes have tracked Texas trends since the late 1800s. Named after the feisty daughter of cattle baron W.T. Waggoner, the community is a great place to experience classic Texas, cattle, crude and farming along the Red River.

Did You Know:
Clayco Number 1, the 1911 oil well gusher a mile north of Electra that opened area oil fields, blew on April 1, leading some citizens to believe the first report was an April Fool’s joke.

Don’t Miss:
Pump Jack Festival: April

Electra, Texas: A Fading Town
A Fading Town’s Liquid Legacy:
Once-thriving Electra hopes ‘Pump Jack’ title brings new fortune
Dallas Morning News 09/23/2001
By BERNADETTE PRUITT / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

ELECTRA, Texas – At every turn on this sun-scorched plain, oil well pump jacks peck at the earth like Jurassic birds.

This is the “Pump Jack Capital of Texas.”

Electra, a northwest Texas town of 3,100 near Wichita Falls, lays claim to approximately 5,000 pump jacks within a 10-mile radius. Its pump jack title was awarded in May by the Legislature.

“The pump jacks are monuments of perpetual motion, monuments to our heritage,” said Carolyn Adams, whose efforts led to the designation. “We’re classic Texas – cattle, crude and combines –
but oil is what put Electra in the history books.”

Oil was discovered in the area in 1900, but it was the Clayco gusher in 1911 that sent Electra’s fortunes skyward and set off the North Texas oil boom. The boom is history, but Wichita County still maintains a respectable showing in crude oil production. In 2000, it was 36th among the state’s 254 counties, according to the Oil and Gas Division of the Railroad Commission of Texas. Wilbarger County, also included in the radius, ranked 94th.

Like mesquite trees, the jacks are such landscape fixtures that most Electrans pay little attention to them. But tourists do. Out-of-staters stopping at the convenience store that Mrs. Adams and her husband, Herbie, once owned often asked about them. 

Official Capital Designations - Texas State Library
Pump Jack Capital of Texas
Electra
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 33, 77th Legislature, Regular Session (2001)

Texas Legislature
S.C.R. No. 33
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, The Legislature of the State of Texas is pleased to recognize the City of Electra and to proclaim this exceptional city the Pump Jack Capital of Texas; and

WHEREAS, Located in the northwestern quadrant of Wichita County, the City of Electra is well known as an oil town; the city is the center of activities generated by the production of crude oil from approximately 5,000 wells and is surrounded by oil pools, power stations, pumping wells, and storage and pipeline facilities; and

WHEREAS, In 1911, the discovery of oil at the site of Clayco 1 on April Fools’ Day thrust the City of Electra into the history books as one of the most significant oil producing regions in the state; and

WHEREAS, More than 5,000 pump jacks can be found within a 10-mile radius of Electra; the pump jacks range from those of the early days to the modern ones used today, and the remarkable concentration of pump jacks dotting the land has earned the area widespread acclaim for its uniqueness; and

WHEREAS, The city takes pride in its pump jacks and is hosting a Pump Jack Festival to celebrate its heritage and the plentiful supply of oil in the area; the mission of the festival is to increase tourism and showcase the City of Electra’s hospitality, civic attributes, and investment opportunities; and

WHEREAS, Electra boasts a wealth of natural resources and the fruits of years of steady development; its citizens have a strong sense of community spirit and of their city’s history, and they view the pump jacks as wholesome symbols of prosperity and of the work of their forebears; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 77th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby commend the City of Electra on its exemplary citizens and many amenities and declare Electra the Pump Jack Capital of Texas; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be prepared for the City of Electra as an expression of esteem from the Texas Legislature.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (2) Comments • Sunday, December 24, 2006 • Permalink


Hi Barry,
Thank you for this article, you did a great job. I’m the lady in the article that worked to get Electra named Pump Jack Capital of Texas. I stumbled onto your site while looking for something else, and I’m so glad I did. I looked through your archives, and see lots of articles I want to read. I just have one question, what’s a city slicker in New York doing writing so much about us rednecks down in Texas? If you ever get a hanker’n to come see us, let me know and I’ll kick the dogs off the porch and shoo the flies. Maybe I can get my husband to take us out to eat somewhere that requires a knife and a fork. Really, you are always welcome in Texas. Thanks again for your article.  Carolyn smile

Posted by Carolyn Adams  on  12/30  at  11:21 PM

Okay, since y’all are the world’s experts on pump jacks, I have a question for you.  A student asked me the question and I didn’t have a good answer for him.  I couldn’t find a satisfactory or clear answer on the Internet either.

Question:  What powers a pump jack.  Apparently they go up and down like a see-saw 24/7.  And some wells are remote and located a long way from electrical power lines.  So do they have to haul gasoline or diesel fuel to the pump jacks.  Are the operated by a diesel or gasoline engine?  What powers a pump jack?  I’ve heard they have electric motors.  If so, where does the electric motor get its fuel?

I know it’s a dumb question.  But I’m curious.

Thanks in advance for any response. 

confused

Posted by Jim  on  01/03  at  06:22 PM

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