Andrews County History

Andrews County came into existence in 1876 when the 15th Legislature of Texas created 54 counties in the Panhandle and South Plains. It was named for Richard Andrews, the 1st man to die in the war for Texas independence in 1835. Prior to 1890, the county was inhabited primarily by some ranchers, military personnel and Indians—Anasazi, Apache and Comanche. By 1900 the population had reached 975 (mostly farmers and ranchers) with two communities—Shafter Lake and Andrews—in the county. Both communities wanted to be the county seat, so, in order to woo voters, Shafter Lake gave lots to cowboys to enable them to vote for that town in the election. But, when Shafter Lake refused to extend the deadline for the give-away for an individual, R. M. Means, whose wagon broke down on the way to the town, the tide began to turn. Mr. Means returned to Andrews, bought land and began giving lots to cowboys as well. The election was held on July 16, 1910 and Andrews won, beating Shafter Lake at its own game.

Agriculture took a hit in 1917-1918 from blizzards and drought and reduced the population by over half, but it rebounded in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s with the production of cotton and sorghum. The late ‘20’s also saw the start of oil production in Andrews County with the major strike by Deep Rock Oil Company in 1929. It was in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s that the oil business exploded with the discovery of over 100 new fields and Andrews County experienced unprecedented growth and prosperity. Things began slowing in the ‘70’s and some diversification of industry was called for, such as the Kirby Vacuum Plant and Waste Control Specialists.

The County is governed by 4 commissioners and a county judge. Over the years, this government has provided the citizens of Andrews County with 1st class facilities at a low cost. In 1911, construction began on a 2-story courthouse. In 1938 the present courthouse was built, with renovations being made in 1955 and 1976. Other facilities include and airport, library, museum, 7 parks, civic center, community building, rodeo arena, and a Senior Citizens center.