History of Hutchinson County, Texas: 104 years, 1876-1980

Forty-six were present from Borger, Phillips and
Pampa with 32 eligible for membership. Al Tarver
was named the first Chamber of Commerce president.
Growth of an organization and town might be
exemplified by the 1950 celebration in Borger called
"Know Your Own Strength" sponsored by the Borger
Chamber of Commerce and Pathfinder Magazine.
It was held October 16 to 20 and it started with
the crowning of Miss Oil Progress. The formal opening
of the new skyscraper in Borger, the new Hotel
Borger, was held. Governor Allen Shivers spoke to
the crowd at the opening. The formal dedication of
the Hutchinson County Airport was held at the airport
and CAA officials participated. Open houses were
held at the new American Legion building and the
schools. The last day of the celebration was left for
bus tours of Phillips Petroleum Company plants in
the Tri City area. It ended with a gigantic free fireworks
display.
Through the efforts of the chamber, Pathfinder
magazine brought its "Know Your Own Strength
Week" theme into the southwest for the first time.
Borger was the first city to be honored by the pathfinder
below the Mason-Dixon line and this was the
magazine's seventh KYOS celebration. The Chamber
was using the KYOS theme as a top selling point
for Borger and this idea was used for Borger's celebration
in its short history in 1950.
The town grew with the development of such
things as a new hospital.
In 1937, a $65,000 bond issue was voted by the
residents of Hutchinson County for North Plains Hospital
and it was built on its present site, 200 S. McGee
St. It was built by C.S. Lambie at the cost of $58,000.
In February of 1941, the nurses home adjacent to the
hospital was added at a cost of $17,900. In 1943, the
two wings were added, costing $71,300 and in 1947
the two-story center wing was built at a cost of
$148,683, plus $23,900 for a central heating system.
Today North Plains Hospital is a modern facility,
much enlarged from its original structure.
The contract for the Hutchinson County Airport
was let on November 7, 1949 and at that time, it was
one of the finest airports for a city of Borger's size
that was to be found anywhere. The layout resembled
a figure four. The airport had three runways, two
of which were asphalted and the other, a red dirt
strip. It had an administration building and a hangar.
This was one of the big projects for the Chamber of
Commerce at this time. It has continued to be one of
the major projects as it brings businesses into Borger.
By 1950 also one out of three families in the city of
Borger had a telephone in their homes. In 1936,
when Borger's population was near the 8,000 mark

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Fifteenth Birthday Borger

only 896 phones were in the city. However, in 1940
when the town had grown to 10,018, the phone population
had also grown to 1,621. Maybe the war
made Borger citizens more communication-conscious
as the phone installations rose since World
War II began increasing and war was declared. In
1947 Borger had 4,499 telephones installed in the
city and in 1949, the count had been 6,650 for the
17,949 people living in the city. As Borger has grown
such as in 1980, every home had a telephone usually
and some had several extensions.
Borger began as a boomtown and perhaps the
greatest examples of its growth came when it grew
up from a boom town to an All-American city. It
began in 1926 and by 1969 it had earned that honor.
The winning towns were elected by a distinguished
National Municipal League jury and then they were
featured in Look Magazine. An All-American city
award recognizes citizen participation in the practice
of democracy. The report by the Municipal League
on past All American winners showed that 43 per
cent of the most active leaders in those towns were
businessmen of the Chamber of Commerce stripe.
The article in Look Magazine on March 10, 1970
had this to say about Borger and what it had done to
earn the honor.
"Oil and gas created a boomtown in the Texas
panhandle in 1926. Forty years later, after bankruptcy
in 1940 and another boom during World War
II, Borger faced automation at its refineries, gas
works and carbon-black plants. Population slowly
declined from 20,000, schools had to be closed, old
buildings were left to rot and small businesses began
failing. Borger decided not to die. Over 900 citizens
helped revamp the school system. Businessmen
began clearing away unsightly shacks and hustled
three new industries into town. A new shopping center
and senior citizens center were built. Borger's two
leading industrial firms outdid other Texas corporations
in complying with the state's clean air law,
spending millions of dollars on filtering equipment

Hutchinson County Historical Commission. History of Hutchinson County, Texas: 104 years, 1876-1980. Dallas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20204/. Accessed July 4, 2015.