Thurber, Texas History Collection:
Once home to more than 8,000 people, Thurber, Texas is now a ghost town located in far north Erath County. Thurber became a bustling coal mining town after coal deposits were discovered in the area in 1886 and the land was sold to the Texas and Pacific Coal Company in 1888. Thurber began attracting workers from all over the world to work the mines including large groups of Poles, Italians, Irish, Russians, and Mexicans. This lent a decidedly international flavor to the town and night schools were soon set up to teach English to the miners. A completely company-owned town, every house, business, saloon, church, and school in Thurber was owned by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company. The town even boasted a brick manufacturing plant and an opera house. In 1903, Thurber also became a 100 percent union shop city when, following a United Mine Workers uprising, the Texas and Pacific Coal Company recognized unions. The decline of Thurber began during the 1920's as railroad engines began relying on oil rather than coal. First the mines closed and the brick plant soon followed. The town died out, turning the once busy, multi-ethnic city into a ghost town.
Collection contains newspaper clippings, blank receipt book, a thesis, articles, a photograph, and photocopies of clippings and photographs. Newspaper clippings and articles relate to the history of Thurber and include many reminiscences from former townspeople. The blank receipt book is from the Dry Goods-Hardware store of the Texas Pacific Mercantile & Manufacturing Company in Thurber. The thesis is entitled Thurber: The Life and Death of a Texas Town (1946) by Mary Jane Gentry also pertains to Thurber's history. The photograph is of four men in a business office. Several visible calendars in the office date the photograph to either late 1921 or early 1922.
Open for research.
Thurber, Texas History Collection, AR160, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.
The retrospective updating and conversion of this finding aid was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Special Collections "Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records" project, 2014-2015.
Collection also known as Thurber Coal Miners Collection.
Researchers should be aware of the extensive amount of material pertaining to the history of Thurber available in the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University. The Nita Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas, is also a point of interest to the researcher interested in the history of Thurber, Texas. There are also a number of photographs of Thurber, Texas, at the Tarleton State University Library.