Focus on the Backroads » Photo Journeys

FOCUS ON THE BACKROADS: CLAIREMONT, TEXAS – a West Texas ghost town

In the center of Kent County Texas is Clairemont – the formal county seat and now a ghost town.  Clairemont was established in 1892, located on land owned by R.L. Rhomberg, a local rancher.  The new town was named after his niece, Claire Becker.   The town soon had several stores, a bank, a newspaper, and a hotel.  In December of 1892 post office was granted.  In 1895 a sandstone jail and matching courthouse were constructed.

Cotton, oil, and cattle ranching dominated the economy.  By the 1930’s the population had grown to over 200 citizens.    The population started to decline in the 1950s due to inadequate water source, declining cotton prices, and oil camps relocating to richer fields.  In the early 1950s the courthouse burned.  The post office was closed in 1970.  The population had dwindled to about 15 by the 2000s.

One of the most interesting building still standing in Clairemont is the Kent County Jail.  The iron cells are 12 x 12 feet and about 7 feet high, built inside of the red sandstone building.  This jail was know across West Texas as virtually escape-proof.

It is told that a noted outlaw was on his deathbed at the jail after being shot by a Texas Ranger’s well placed .45 slug.

Tell me who you rode with and where I can find ’em,” the lawman ordered the dying badman

Can you keep a secret?” the outlaw whispered, barely able to speak.

You bet your boots I can” responded the Ranger

So can I” , the outlaw said as he died with his boots on.

When visiting   you better back a sandwich or two – there is no place to grab lunch………but this is definitely a BIG TEXAS STEP into history!

CLAIREMONT, TEXAS  –  GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

 

 

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