Heritage, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 1986 Page: 21
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Company to produce packages for his
By the time Post had recuperated, his
cereals had made him a millionaire several
times over. His farm machinery was
commonly used across America, and he
was internationally known as an industrialist
and inventor. An outspoken opponent
of union labor, Post kept his
workers happy by encouraging open discussion,
paying high wages, and maintaining
safety and cleanliness standards
that made his shops models for the industrial
community. Besides a fine reputation,
Post now had the money and the
health needed for his next hobby.
Some men garden for a hobby. Others
build model railroads. But C. W. Post did
things on a grand scale. His hobby involved
turning three hundred square
miles of Texas ranch land into a farming
community. In 1905, Post purchased the
land along the Caprock where he had first
envisioned his model city. He paid the
Santa Fe company $50,000 to establish a
rail link between his community and the
nearest outpost of civilization; Lubbock,
population 3,000. And so in 1907 Post
City was born, three miles east of the
Caprock, forty miles from Lubbock and
one hundred miles from Big Spring, the
In an age when American intellectuals
looked to socialism as the solution to economic
problems, Post sought to prove
that traditional American individualism
offered a better answer. Post was determined
to prove "a city and country made
up of individual owners can rope and
hogtie any outfit of rainbow chasers that
ever existed, or ever will exist."
Post worked fast to prove his point.
Until the railroad's completion in 1910,
mule trains out of Big Spring brought materials
for building the town. By 1911,
Post City had a newspaper, movie house,
water system, public school, cotton gin,
and almost 1,500 residents.
To stimulate quick growth, Post provided
ready-made farms; 160 acre lots
complete with house, outbuildings, and a
three-acre orchard. The farms were inexpensive
and the terms easy. With a small
down-payment and $25 a month pay
ments, purchasers could own a home in
four years without ever paying interest.
Post visited his hobby town twice each
year, in May and October. He would stay
at least one month to issue orders for the
town's development toward perfection.
The hotel would serve Postum at every
meal, and Grape-Nuts would have a permanent
place on the menu. Liquor was
not to be sold or consumed in Post City.
Prospective residents had to work several
months on the Double U Ranch. After
reviewing the candidates, Post would
allow only those who he believed would
be "desirable citizens" to purchase homes.
To discourage speculators, Post required
all homeowners to pledge they would
never resell their homes for profit. Strict
sanitary regulations were to be enforced,
and all violators were to be "thrown out"
Post believed he could establish an
economy based on farming and supportive
industry in the heart of traditional
ranch lands. But where Post saw fertile
Texas prairieland, everyone else saw the
Great American Desert. Undaunted, Post
turned his creative energies toward developing
drought-resistant crops and improving
irrigation methods. Post was sure
he could make the desert bloom.
Post looked to cotton for the money
crop that would make his town boom. He
was so convinced the prairie could support
cotton that in 1911 he built the
Postex Cotton Mills, an enormous facility
believed to have been the world's first
mill capable of processing cotton from
plant to pillowcase.
Cotton needs rain. Post City's rainfall
was ample, 23 inches per year, but sporadic.
Between gullywashers, Post City
was an arid area. Often the land was so
dry that farmers couldn't break it with a
plow. Post developed ways to maximize
the use of what rain fell on its own, but
soon he turned to a more elaborate solution.
Post decided he would simply make
Post subscribed to the concussionist
theory of rainmaking. That is, clouds
would release their rain when agitated by
loud noises. Through the centuries, soldiers
had associated the sounds of war,
the cannons in particular, with rain.
"Every man who was in a battle knows
that rain invariably followed the heavy
concussions of the cannons," Post wrote
in 1911 after a conversation with a Civil
Post was not the first concussionist of
the era. In 1891, the United States Department
of Agriculture invested $9,000,
a considerable amount in those days,
for experiments in blasting rain out of
clouds. These experiments in San Diego,
Texas, actually produced rain, with a
little help from a storm system in the
area. Although rain had been predicted
in the area in spite of the blasts, the San
Antonio weather bureau admitted the explosions
may have hastened the onset
Nor was Post the only rainmaker in
Texas at the time. After the summer of
1911, during which Post's battles were
credited with several heavy showers, rainmakers
sprang up across the Texas plains.
After a 1912 downpour that saved
$20,000,000 of drought-stricken crops,
the Fort Worth Weekly Citizen noted in its
June 20th issue:
At different points in the plains of West
Texas, ranchmen and other citizens have
been making rainmaking experiments. According
to the dispatches from these towns the
rainmakers are taking credit for bringing
about the storm. At San Angelo, Thurber,
Post City, and Wichita Falls a great deal of
money has been spent in rain tests in the past
month. The San Angelo rainmakers take
credit for the precipitation and announced
Tuesday morning that there would be more to
follow. However, the storm is known to have
extended as far north as St. Louis and from
New Mexico east over the Atlantic states.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 1986, periodical, 1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45442/m1/21/?rotate=90: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.