State Antiquities Landmark in
Hartley County, Texas

Texas has been a major oil-producing state for over a century. The first big oil discovery in Texas was the Spindletop field near Beaumont in 1901, which set off a massive oil boom that transformed the state's economy and made Texas one of the wealthiest states in the country.
Hartley County, TX is located in the panhandle region of the state. It was originally home to Native American tribes, including the Apache and Comanche. In the 19th century, the area was settled by pioneers and ranchers drawn to the vast open plains and rich grasslands.

The county was officially organized in 1891 and named after Oliver Cromwell Hartley, a Confederate lawyer and legislator. In the early years, cattle ranching was the primary economic activity, and the county's population remained relatively small. However, with the arrival of the railroad in the early 1900s, Hartley County experienced a period of growth and development.

Oil was discovered in the county in the 1920s, leading to a significant economic boom. The oil industry became a key driver of the local economy, attracting new residents and businesses. The county's population continued to increase throughout the 20th century, reaching its peak in the 1950s.

Today, Hartley County remains primarily rural, with ranching and oil production still important industries. The county is known for its beautiful landscapes and wide-open spaces, attracting visitors who wish to experience the area's natural beauty. Despite its small population, the county has a strong sense of community and a rich history that is celebrated by its residents.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Hartley County, Texas.

  • 1876 - Hartley County is officially established by the Texas legislature.
  • Late 1800s - Ranching becomes the primary industry in Hartley County.
  • 1900 - The town of Hartley is established as the county seat.
  • 1901 - The Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway reaches Hartley County, leading to increased settlement and economic growth.
  • 1920s - The discovery of oil in surrounding counties brings oil drilling activity to Hartley County.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl have a significant impact on the county, causing economic hardship and forcing many residents to leave.
  • 1950s - The construction of the Sanford Dam on the Canadian River creates Lake Meredith, providing recreational opportunities for Hartley County residents.
  • 1963 - The town of Dalhart becomes the second incorporated city in Hartley County.
  • 1970s - Agriculture remains a major industry, with farming and cattle ranching being the main economic activities.
  • 1990s - The county experiences population growth due to the expansion of agricultural operations and increased oil production.