McCamey, Texas

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McCamey is a city in Upton County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,805 at the 2000 census. The city has been declared by the Texas legislature as the "Wind Energy Capital of Texas" because of the many wind farms that have been built in the area. Its history, however, is primarily that of an oil boomtown.



McCamey is located at 31°7′56″N 102°13′20″W / 31.13222°N 102.22222°W / 31.13222; -102.22222 (31.132300, -102.222106)[3]. The town is about five miles (8 km) east of the Pecos River along U.S. Highway 67.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km²), all of it land.


McCamey is named for George B. McCamey, whose 1925 wildcat well, discovering the McCamey Oil Field, brought about the oil boom in the region. He brought in a real estate developer from Corpus Christi to lay out a townsite near the oil field and along the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway capable of housing 10,000 people. Initially the town was a jumble of tents and frame shacks; order came slowly, replacing the lawlessness of the early boomtown environment. A post office was built in 1926, and the town was incorporated near the end of that year. In 1927 the McCamey Independent School District was formed, and an enterprising newspaperman printed the first issue of the Tri-County Record, the town's first newspaper.[4]

Water supply was a problem in the early years of McCamey, as the nearby water sources were not drinkable. Water came in by train from Alpine, almost 100 miles (160 km) away, at a cost of a dollar a barrel. (McCamey was served by the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway.) Finally a potable water supply was found in a geologic unit only 17 miles (27 km) distant, and pipes were built to bring it to town in 1929.[5]

McCamey was the location of the Humble Oil Company Refinery, one of the first built in West Texas. Humble Oil was later acquired by Exxon. An early experiment in massive oil storage in McCamey proved a failure: local oilmen attempted to build a reservoir to hold up to a million barrels of oil in an earthen holding tank, but the limestone formation underneath the tank cracked under the weight of the crude, allowing much of it to leak into the subsurface.[6]

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