Borger, Texas

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Borger is the largest city in Hutchinson County, Texas, United States. The population was 14,302 at the 2000 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.

Contents

History

The first Panhandle oil well was drilled near Borger on May 2, 1921, on the 6666 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.[3]

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.

In the months that followed, oilmen, roughnecks, prospectors, panhandlers and fortune seekers were joined by cardsharks, prostitutes, 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. Dixon Street (now Tenth Street) was the "red-light" district, housing brothels, dance halls, speakeasies and gambling dens. Murder and robbery became an everyday occurrence, and illegal moonshining and home brewing flourished under the fatherly watch of Hedwig 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 onto later fame and even infamy as the man who killed Bonnie and Clyde.)

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