Lefors is a town in Gray County, Texas, United States. It is part of the Pampa, TexasMicropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 559 at the 2000 census.
Abandoned Gas Station in Lefors
Location of Lefors, Texas
|Coordinates: 35°26′20″N 100°48′13″W|
The area around modern Lefors was near the heart of Comancheria and a common village site for the nomadic tribes of Comanche. One of the final encounters between the U.S. Armyunder the command of Ranald Slidell Mackenzie and remnants of various Comanche bands was fought near here September 29, 1872.
Lefors was founded in 1888 by Travis Leach, Perry LeFors, Henry Thut, and Henry B. Lovett. The town was named for Perry LeFors, who traveled with his father to the Panhandle in 1878 and later became foreman of the Diamond F Ranch, a part of the Francklyn Land and Cattle Company, which became insolvent in 1886 and became the White Deer Lands Trust Company, of which Timothy Dwight Hobart was the agent.
In 1882, the first homestead on the future townsite was laid by Travis Leach, a rancher and surveyor, whose log cabin served as a stagecoach stop on the mail route from Fort Elliottand Mobeetie to Tascosa. Henry B. Lovett, a former buffalo hunter, and Henry Thut, a Swiss immigrant whose sister-in-law, Emma Lang, married LeFors, also settled in the vicinity during the 1880s. George Henry Saunders had a ranch camp headquarters nearby.
Other settlers soon moved into the area, and in 1892 a post office was opened at Lefors with Thut as postmaster. (Postal officials required that the F be lower-cased.) Four years later a combination school and church building was built. When Gray County was organized on May 27, 1902, Lefors was named the county seat. A two-story frame courthouse was built for less than $2,500, and Thut, who became the first county treasurer, erected a hotel. Perry LeFors served as the town's first constable. The population reached 150 in 1910, and despite its small size and the lack of a railroad, the town managed for a time to remain the county seat.
When the oil boom hit the county during the 1920s, three oil pools were discovered in the vicinity. Lefors profited from the boom, especially in real estate, the boom resulted in the establishment of an independent school district and the bringing of electricity and other modern utilities to the town.
By 1931 Lefors had incorporated, and in 1932, the town finally obtained a railroad, when theFort Worth and Denver extended its line from Pampa. The population increased to 809 by 1940. Several Protestant denominations established churches in the community.
Eight people died when an early spring snow storm stranded about one hundred people in around fifty-five automobiles on the road between Pampa and Lefors on April 7–8, 1938. After between ten and twelve inches of snow fell in the Panhandle, with 50-mile an hour winds creating drifts of five to twenty-feet tall, men with farm tractors and heavy oil field equipment had to come to the rescue of the snowed in travelers, which included two school buses rescued by the army.
The town suffered a flood in 1961, unemployment from the closure of several area carbon black plants in 1964, and a tornado in 1975. The town was nicknamed "Ghost Town" by its residents because of its small population and unoccupied run-down homes. Its population decreased dramatically.