During the Roaring Twenties, Borger boomed as one of West Texas’ roughest oil towns. Shrewd promoter and city namesake Ace Borger platted his town in March of 1926, and within three months 15,000 people called the place home.
The boom also attracted criminals...so many that Gov. Daniel J. Moody imposed martial law and engaged Texas Rangers and state troopers to uproot corruption. Exhibits on Borger--the town and the man--take center stage downtown at the Hutchinson County Historical Museum. Two floors of colorful exhibits chronicle county heritage with an emphasis on the rich and rowdy boom era. On display is a copy of famed artist Thomas Hart Benton’s painting Boomtown, which the artist composed from sketches on a trip to Borger.
Across the street from the museum looms a rare cable-tool oil drilling rig used from 1926 to 1947. The Gulf Dial No. 54 rig was once a busy, noisy, dangerous place as men drilled for oil in Hutchinson County.
The museum also chronicles and leads tours to Adobe Walls, the site in northern Hutchinson County of a 19th-century buffalo hunters' camp. Started as a trading post in 1843 and abandoned in 1849, Adobe Walls preserves some of the most storied episodes in the West. Kit Carson and a group of Union soldiers battled Plains Indians there in 1864, and Billy Dixon and a group of buffalo hunters battled Indians again in 1874.
Attacks by Native Americans on the camp sparked the Red River War, an epic struggle that led to the subjugation of Southern Plains Indians in the 1870s.
Near the museum, the restored 1947 Morley Theater shows current movies in a historical setting.