Mankins is on U.S. highways 277 and 82, nineteen miles southwest of Wichita Falls in northwestern Archer County. Enough families had settled in this ranching and farming area by 1889 for classes to begin at Lone Star School. In 1890 the Wichita Valley Railway ran a spur out to the headquarters of Sam Lazarus's ranch, north of the site of present Mankins. There the rail company built a station to load grain and Lazarus put up a community church. The settlement was called Lazarus Switch. Charles Mangold bought the ranch in 1908 and built a store and a small hotel by the railroad. He laid out a townsite a mile south of the ranch headquarters, where the foreman, Tom Mankins, lived. In 1909, when the post office opened, it was named for Mankins, who was also keeping the general store. By 1914 the town had a school, a cattle breeder, three cattle-feeding companies, two cotton buyers, and an estimated population of fifty-five. Mankins grew in the 1920s with the discovery of oil but not as dramatically as some other towns in Archer County. Only three fields with a total of forty-two wells were opened up between 1923 and 1926 near Mankins. The population had risen to eighty-five by the late 1920s, and it remained at that level through the 1930s. Sometime during this period the town constructed a brick building that served as a four-year high school, the community center, and the church. The Methodists were the only organized denomination in Mankins until 1936, when the Baptists organized. By then the town had six businesses. In 1938 a tornado razed the high school building, and the Methodists then moved to neighboring Holliday. The Baptists used the rebuilt school until 1941, when the entire community moved an abandoned church to Mankins from Bowman. By 1950 Mankins had an estimated population of 120 and four businesses. The Mankins school had been annexed to the one at Holliday. Mankins lost its post office about 1963. By 1964 the community had no businesses, and by the late 1960s the population had dropped to fifty. In the 1970s access to water resources was improved, but growth was said to be hampered because the town lots were still owned by the Mangold estate and were not for sale. The estimated population in 1990 was forty-five. The population dropped to ten in 2000.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
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