Kilgore, Texas

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Kilgore, Texas
City
World's Richest Acre Park in downtown Kilgore, where the greatest concentration of oil wells in the world once stood
Motto: "The City of Stars"
Location of Kilgore, Texas
Coordinates: 32°23′8″N 94°52′7″W / 32.38556°N 94.86861°W / 32.38556; -94.86861Coordinates: 32°23′8″N 94°52′7″W / 32.38556°N 94.86861°W / 32.38556; -94.86861
CountryUnited StatesUnited States
StateTexasTexas
CountiesGregg, Rusk
Government
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City CouncilMayor R.E. Spradlin III
Sherry Bustin
Harvey McClendon
Neil Barr
Bobby Hale
 • City ManagerJ. Scott Sellers
Area
 • Total15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2)
 • Land15.4 sq mi (39.9 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation358 ft (109 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total12,975
 • Density842.5/sq mi (324.4/km2)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes75662-75663
Area code(s)903
FIPS code48-39124[1]
GNIS feature ID1339101[2]
WebsiteCity of Kilgore, Texas
 
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Kilgore, Texas
City
World's Richest Acre Park in downtown Kilgore, where the greatest concentration of oil wells in the world once stood
Motto: "The City of Stars"
Location of Kilgore, Texas
Coordinates: 32°23′8″N 94°52′7″W / 32.38556°N 94.86861°W / 32.38556; -94.86861Coordinates: 32°23′8″N 94°52′7″W / 32.38556°N 94.86861°W / 32.38556; -94.86861
CountryUnited StatesUnited States
StateTexasTexas
CountiesGregg, Rusk
Government
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • City CouncilMayor R.E. Spradlin III
Sherry Bustin
Harvey McClendon
Neil Barr
Bobby Hale
 • City ManagerJ. Scott Sellers
Area
 • Total15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2)
 • Land15.4 sq mi (39.9 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation358 ft (109 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total12,975
 • Density842.5/sq mi (324.4/km2)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes75662-75663
Area code(s)903
FIPS code48-39124[1]
GNIS feature ID1339101[2]
WebsiteCity of Kilgore, Texas
Kilgore City Hall sign evokes the importance of oil to the city's history.
St. Lukes United Methodist Church in downtown Kilgore
First Baptist Church of Kilgore
Kilgore Public Library
Main Street promotional sign in Kilgore
Citizens Bank in downtown Kilgore

Kilgore is a city in Gregg and Rusk Counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Texas. It is the home of Kilgore College, and was the childhood residence from the age of six of famous classical pianist Van Cliburn. The population was 12,975 at the 2010 census.

History[edit]

Kilgore was founded in 1872 when the International-Great Northern Railroad completed the initial phase of rail line between Palestine and Longview. The rail company chose to bypass a small community about 10 mi (16 km) southeast of Longview, New Danville, in lieu of a new townsite platted on 174 acres (0.70 km2) sold to the rail by Constantine Buckley Kilgore, the town's namesake. The new town received a post office in 1873, and soon began to draw residents and businesses away from New Danville. By 1885, the population had reached 250 and the community had two cotton gins, a church, and its own school. The Kilgore Independent School District was organized in 1910, and by 1914 the town had two banks, several businesses, and a reported population of 700. The 1920s showed continued steady growth and by 1929 Kilgore was home to an estimated 1,000 residents.

Prosperity came to a halt, however, when Kilgore was dealt severe blows by a steep decline in cotton prices (on which most of the town's economy had been based), and the effects of the Great Depression. Businesses began to close, and by the middle of 1930, the population had fallen to 500; the community appeared destined to become a ghost town.

Kilgore's fortunes changed dramatically, however, on October 3, 1930, when wildcatter Columbus M. "Dad" Joiner struck oil near the neighboring town of Henderson. This well, known as the Daisy Bradford #3, marked the discovery of the vast East Texas Oilfield, and seemingly overnight Kilgore was transformed from a small farming town on the decline into a bustling boom town. By 1936, the population had increased to over 12,000 and Kilgore's skyline was crowded with oil derricks. Oil production maintained a breakneck pace throughout the early 1930s, with more than 1,100 producing oil wells within city limits at the height of the boom. The explosive growth left most civic services overwhelmed, and as a result Kilgore was forced to incorporate in 1931. Law enforcement struggled to keep order among the shanties, tents, and ramshackle honkytonks that now crowded Kilgore's main streets. On one occasion, help had to be summoned from the Texas Rangers to keep the peace.

By the mid-1930s the oil boom had begun to subside, and most of the small oil companies and wildcatters had sold out to major corporations. The boom was essentially over by 1940, though oil production remained central to the city's economy, and still does to this day. The population, which fluctuated wildly throughout the 1930s, stabilized at around 10,000 in the 1950s, and a 2008 estimate placed it at just over 12,000 residents.

Geography[edit]

Kilgore is located at 32°23′8″N 94°52′7″W / 32.38556°N 94.86861°W / 32.38556; -94.86861 (32.385534, -94.868502).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.4 square miles (40.0 km²), of which 15.4 square miles (39.9 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.19%) is covered by water.

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[1] of 2000, 11,301 people, 4,403 households, and 2,963 families resided in the city. The population density was 734.3 people per square mile (283.5/km²). The 4,766 housing units averaged 309.7 per square mile (119.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.22% White, 12.34% African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 6.95% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 11.11% of the population.

Of the 4,403 households, 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were not families. About 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was distributed as 24.6% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,129, and for a family was $61,765. Males had a median income of $45,995 versus $30,124 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,297. About 9.7% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.[4]

Arts and culture[edit]

Kilgore College was established during the 1930s oil boom.
The East Texas Oil Museum is located on the campus of Kilgore College.
The Kilgore History and Art Center is located downtown in a former post office building.
The Crim Theatre in downtown Kilgore dates back to the 1930s.

Texas Shakespeare Festival[edit]

Kilgore is home to the Texas Shakespeare Festival, an annual summer repertory company. Founded in 1986, the Texas Shakespeare Festival presents four shows in rotating repertory every summer at the Van Cliburn Auditorium on the campus of Kilgore College.

Kilgore Public Library[edit]

Based on the style of Normandy cottages, construction of the Kilgore Public Library began in 1933 and was completed in 1939. The New Deal agencies, the Public Works Administration and Works Progress Administration, participated in the construction.

Government[edit]

Local government[edit]

According to the city's most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Fund Financial Statements, the city's various funds had $17.4 million in revenues, $19.4 million in expenditures, $19.5 million in total assets, $0.8 million in total liabilities, and $17.5 million in investments.[5]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:[6]

DepartmentDirector
City ManagerJ. Scott Sellers
City AttorneyRobert G. Schleier
City ClerkDeborah Dane
Municipal Court JudgeGlenworth D. Phillips
Police ChiefTodd Hunter
General Services DirectorB. J. Owen
Public Works DirectorSeth Sorensen
Finance DirectorLawanna Williams
Fire ChiefJohnny Bellows
Library DirectorLinda Johnson
Planning DirectorCarol Windham

State government[edit]

Kilgore is represented in the Texas Senate by Republican Kevin Eltife, District 1, and in the Texas House of Representatives by Republican David Simpson, District 7 and Travis Clardy, District 11.

Federal government[edit]

At the federal level, the two U.S. Senators from Texas are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Kilgore is part of the Texas' US Congressional 1st District, which is currently represented by Republican Louie Gohmert.

Education[edit]

Public school[edit]

The City of Kilgore is served by the Kilgore Independent School District and is home to the Kilgore High School Bulldogs.

Colleges and universities[edit]

Kilgore College is the home of the Rangers and the world-renowned Kilgore College Rangerettes.

Media[edit]

The Kilgore News Herald is a weekly newspaper published in the city.[7]

Notable events[edit]

September 23, 1983, The Kentucky Fried Chicken murders: Five men and women were abducted from a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Kilgore and found slain, execution-style, in an oilfield outside of town. The crime went unsolved for over 20 years.

In 2001, the Kilgore College Ranger football team had a perfect season, winning the southwest junior college football conference and finishing #2 in the nation.

December 18, 2004: The Kilgore High School "Ragin' Red" Bulldog football team completed a perfect season (16-0) after winning the Class 4A Division II state championship game, 33-27, in a double-overtime thriller against the Dallas Lincoln Tigers at Baylor University's Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco. Nick Sanders blocked a potential go-ahead field goal attempt by Lincoln and picked it up himself and carried it down the field for the winning touchdown.

In their 2011-2012 school year, the "Ragin' Red" finished their season making it to the fourth-round area championship, losing to the Corsicana Tigers in the second half. Then, in the following year, the Bulldogs were knocked down to the small-school class 3A. The "Ragin' Red" team was placed in District-16 3A also known as the "District of Doom" with long-time rival Henderson in which every game between the two teams has been sold out. The Kilgore Bulldogs made it to the Texas State Semifinals the same year, losing to Stephenville High School 42-32, which went on to win the Texas State Championship at Cowboy Stadium, 70-35. Kilgore finished that season 11-2.

References in popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "American Community Survey results for Kilgore, TX 2007-2011". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ City of Kilgore 2009 CAFR retrieved 2010-11-11
  6. ^ City of Kilgore 2009 CAFR retrieved 2010-11-11
  7. ^ "Kilgore News Herald". Kilgore News Herald. Retrieved August 2, 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.woodyguthrie.org/Lyrics/East_Texas_Red.htm

External links[edit]