Sipe Springs

SIPE SPRINGS, TEXAS (Comanche County). Sipe Springs is on Sipe Springs Branch at the intersection of Farm roads 1477 and 587, seventeen miles northwest of Comanche in northwestern Comanche County. Settlers first arrived at the site around 1870, and the town was organized in 1873. The settlement was named, with a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to spelling, for the nearby springs that "seeped" out of rock formations. A schoolhouse was built at the community in 1873, and a congregation of the United Brethren met there for Sunday school. Baptist and Methodist churches were organized soon thereafter. A post office opened in 1883, and by 1884 Sipe Springs had 130 inhabitants and five general stores, two hotels, and two gin-gristmills. A weekly newspaper, the Cyclone , was being published by 1890. The town had telephone service by 1909. In 1911 the Texas Central Railroad built from De Leon to Cross Plains, and its right-of-way ran through the area just to the north of Sipe Springs. The town subsequently began to build toward the railroad line. By 1914 Sipe Springs had grown to 500 inhabitants and was served by the State Bank and by a weekly paper, the Sipe Springs Record . The community's period of greatest expansion began in 1918 with the discovery of oil nearby. According to some reports Sipe Springs became a tent city of as many as 8,000 people within a year, with hotels, rooming houses, drugstores, barbershops, cafes, two banks, a cotton gin, a movie theater, and a dance hall. The boom was fairly brief, as the oil deposits in the Sipe Springs fields proved to be shallow. By 1921 both banks had failed, in 1922 a fire consumed a number of buildings, and by 1924 the town's population had fallen to 575, not much higher than the pre-boom figure. A new brick school was built at the end of the boom period in 1922, and in 1937 the two Sipe Springs schools had 152 pupils and six teachers. The community continued to decline in the 1930s as dwindling water supplies hurt the surrounding farms. In 1940 Sipe Springs included 200 inhabitants, twelve businesses, and two schools. In 1949 the population was estimated at 120, and in 1952 the Sipe Springs school district had been divided between the Sidney and De Leon districts. The population fell to 110 in 1974. In 1987 the community consisted of a cemetery and a number of scattered dwellings. The population was estimated at seventy-five from 1988 through 2000.

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