January 31, 2018
Situated between Abilene and Fort Worth, Ranger, Texas is a quiet town of roughly 2,500 residents. Ranger is named after the famous Texas Rangers, who, in the late 1800’s, set up a camp town just a couple miles outside of the present-day location of the town. This camp, known as a “Ranger Camp Valley,” was a tent city – “since all businesses, including schools, churches and stores were inside tents”(Texas Escapes).
In 1880 the Texas and Pacific Railroad Company was given 160 acres of land, and the Texas Rangers and their families moved to the current location of Ranger, Texas and set up a permanent town. The early 1900’s saw an oil boom in the area, and so the area grew from a mere 750 residents to over 16,000 by 1920. It did not take long for the oil wells to run dry.That along with a major fire that wiped out two city blocks, and an outbreak of typhoid fever, the population dwindled down to just over 6000 in the 1930 census.
The town that had humble beginnings, continues to remain in such a state. There is evidence of a booming town, but now buildings lay abandoned or in disrepair. The railway is still active with trains running through Ranger, but there is no longer a train station in the town.
There is potential for growth in the town. With areas like Weatherford and Abilene growing, this small transit town could offer a place to rest or get some refreshments. Perhaps an investor with a dream of expansion in the region will realize this potential and we will see another boom in Ranger. If not, visiting Ranger is worthwhile for those who enjoy a bit of Texas History.
An interesting attraction is the Ranger Antique Airfield. One of the oldest fields, Ranger Antique Airfield opened in 1911. Its claim to fame is that pilot Amelia Earhart landed her Pitcairn Autogyro at the Airfield in 1931. Make sure to stop by their annual Old School Fly-In and Airshow this year, held October 5-7, 2018. For more information check out the Airshow’s website.