Forts Trail Region

Considering it was the Wild West, life was pretty good in 1879 at Ranger Camp Valley. The tent city boasted tent churches, schools, a hotel and general store and, of course, the Texas Rangers who protected settlers from Indian raids. A year later, the Texas & Pacific Railway laid tracks a couple of miles west, and folks picked up and moved to the new town of Ranger. The booming agricultural shipping center suffered during the 1917 drought. So town leaders attracted oil wildcatters who hit pay dirt, and oil derricks sprouted like trees. The Bankhead Highway laid red-brick streets through town, and Ranger blossomed into the largest city between Fort Worth and El Paso. By 1921 the boom had blown out as quickly as it blew in, but its story lives on at the Roaring Ranger Oil Boom Museum, which displays artifacts, historic photos and a vintage drilling rig at the 1923 T&P depot. Airplanes have touched down at Ranger since 1911. A town airport opened in 1928, making it the third oldest in Texas. Legendary pilot Amelia Earhart stopped over in 1931 in combination airplane-helicopter called an autogiro. The airport hosts an Air Show and Fly-In each Memorial Day.