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History of Crane Texas

Crane, Texas is located 32 miles south of Odessa, Texas; 20 miles north of McCamey, Texas; 32 miles west of Rankin, Texas; and 30 miles east of Grandfalls, Texas.

Crane County and the City of Crane were named for William Carey Crane, founder of Baylor University.

Crane County was formed in 1887 from land that had once been Tom Green County. Crane County was organized in 1927 after the discovery of oil. Crane is the only city in Crane County.

Crane was an oil boom town in the 1920’s, and remains the center of a prominent oil-producing area. Oil continues to be Crane’s main source of revenue.

The City of Crane was incorporated in 1933.

1940 City Street
distance Marker/Freedom Park


When Crane entered the 20th Century, the cattle and sheep outnumbered the people by a ratio of 420 to 1. That meant 51 people and 21,400 animals in 1900.

Crane established a post office in 1908. By 1918 they started building roads and by 1920 there were only 37 people left in the county.

The oil boom changed that. The same regional boom that brought in the towns of Wink, McCamey, Iraan, and Notrees added an overnight population of thousands of land speculators, workers and camp followers. Mr. Ollin Columbus Kinnison* platted a townsite and named the streets after his children.

The need for a courthouse was addressed in 1927 - the year the county was organized. Other city amenities came as the oil sold. At one point - water was so scarce that women sent their laundry to El Paso by train.

Oil continues to be Crane's main revenue source. Farming has never been big in Crane County and Cattle is a distant second source of revenue.

The county was finally organized in 1927. In 1890 there were a reported 15 people who had coffee with the census enumerator.

Crane got a post office in 1908. By 1918 they started building roads and by 1920 there were only 37 people left in the county.

The 1948 Crane County Courthouse replaced the county's first (1927) courthouse.. Both county and city were both named after Wm. Carey Crane who was a founder of the old Baylor University in Independence, Texas.

Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos" 7 miles South of Crane on US 385 is a marker signifing the "Horsehead Crossing of the Pecos". Although the crossing could not be pin-pointed due to flooding and conditions, this is thought to be the vicinity.

The name stems from an abundance of horse and mule skulls found there. The animals died from drinking too much water too fast. The crossing wasn't used after the coming of the railroad, but before that it was the only logical low-water crossing for miles. It was a crossing for Indians, stagecoaches and cattleherds.

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