Sunday, January 31, 2010

The History Of The Queen Of Wink's Texas Domain

You are looking at the building where the Winkler County Justice of the Peace dispenses justice, in Wink, Texas.

Wink lost the "ler" part of the county name when the town of Winkler asked the state of Texas for a post office. The town was told there was already a Winkler in Texas. And so Wink was born. That was in 1927.

1927 was also the year the first public school opened in Wink, one short year after the town sprung up in the West Texas desert after oil was discovered in the Hendrick Oilfield.

Before Wink was 1 year old the town had grown to a population of almost 4,000. By 1929 estimates range as high as 25,000 Winkites.

The Wink oil boom and population explosion brought problems to the new town. Lawlessness in the form of bootlegging, prostitution and gambling were big business in Wink. Organized crime took over the town, including the city government.

Wink was sort of a Fort Worth of its day.

In 1928 a District Judge ruled that the Wink incorporation election was void. The city government was then re-organized and made sort of legitimate, with the first city building opening in December of 1928. It was a jail.

In 1929 the Texas-New Mexico Railroad laid tracks from Wink Junction to Wink, connecting the town to New Mexico.

In 1933 Wink finally managed to get itself legally incorporated. During the Great Depression the Wink oil boom declined, along with the population. Many Wink businesses closed.

Wink's population continued to decline through the 1940s, shrinking to around 1,500, with 40 businesses still operating.

During the 1950's Wink's population remained stable at around 1,500. In 1958 Wink lost its railroad connection to the outside world.

In the 1960s Wink's population rose a bit, to a high of 1,800, but then declined to a new low of less than 1,200 Winkites.

In July of 1960 Wink received an urban renewal grant from the federal government of over 1 million dollars. The money went to paving roads.

In the 1970s and 80s Wink's population continued to decline. By the end of the 1980s the number of businesses operating in Wink had dropped to 5.

The 2000 census counted 919 people in Wink.

Wink is often the hottest location in Texas. At times Wink is the hottest location in the United States.

Wink is also known for its sinkholes. There are some who believe Wink is slowly sinking.

Famous Winkites include Roy Orbison (Wink has a Roy Orbison Festival & Museum). Other well known Winkites are the Queen of Wink and Gar the Texan.


Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

Allow me to teach you a poem I learned after arriving in Wink:

Pump jack Pump jack Up and Down
Pulling oil from the ground
First comes oil then comes gas
Then Yucky water comes out last

That's the lullabye all the Wildcatters sing to their babies

Gar said...

I was a Kermite for 15 years. I only lived in Wink for 3 years.

I never learned in poetry in Wink...

Durango said...

What a beautiful poem. I'd love to hear it sung.

You may have been a Winkite for only 3 years, but in that short time you left a big enough impression that a statue was erected to your memory. I have not seen the statue, but I've been told the inscription on the plaque attached to it says something like "Gar the Texan, Citizen of Wink, Smartest Texan Ever."

Gar said...

I'm honored.