Signal Hill was a small oil boom camp a mile and a half east of Stinnett in Hutchinson County. It was founded in 1926 by Earl Thompson on a tentative survey of the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway and had a brief but uninhibited life as a quasi-independent community during the boom of the late 1920s. Throughout this time it was generally regarded as a hangout for bootleggers, prostitutes, gamblers, and other undesirables who drifted into the oil fields. Among the noted criminals who frequented Signal Hill were Ray Terrell, Ace Pendleton, Matt Kimes, and the bootlegging brothers Torrance and W. J. (Shine) Popejoy. At its peak in 1926–27, the camp was infested with beer emporiums, brothels, gambling dens, speakeasies, and other places of ill repute. Thompson opened a bank in Signal Hill. In addition, the settlement contained four drugstores, a bakery, an ice house, a dozen filling stations, a welding shop, a boiler shop, a hardware store, three oil-supply houses, a meat market, a movie house, and several hotels and rooming houses. One citizen recalled that the post office was the only place in the camp that did not sell alcoholic beverages. After the first cleanup of the Borger area by Texas Rangers in 1927, Signal Hill's population rapidly decreased, as its centers of vice were shut down. The proposed railroad spur was never built, and the community was abandoned in about a year.
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.
H. Allen Anderson | © Texas State Historical Association
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