I was first attracted to this “town” because its name is the same as the last name of my four cousins in Florida. So you can imagine my disappointment when I arrived and this building was the only thing left. Not that there’s anything wrong with this old roadside bar. Given Girvin’s history (below), there were no doubt countless birthdays, divorces, hirings, firings, and well-drilling successes celebrated there. Maybe it’s fitting that the last building standing is the Girvin Saloon.
A community began there in the 1890s, when stock raisers moved into the region. The town was eventually named for John H. Girvin, a local rancher. In 1912 the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railwaycompleted track construction from Mertzon to Girvin after crossing the Pecos River. A post office was established at Girvin on January 31, 1913. The original townsite was located on both sides of the tracks, near the rail station. Soon the town also had a store, a hotel, a saloon, and a lumberyard, and stock pens were built near the tracks. The first school was a small wooden building, but by the late 1920s or early 1930s the Girvin Independent School District had built a brick schoolhouse. This, however, proved to be too small, and during the 1930–31 school year one class had to meet in a nearby lumberyard. In 1924 Girvin had an estimated population of fifteen. When oil production began in the nearby Yates and Trans-Pecos oilfields in the late 1920s, Girvin became a delivery point for equipment and supplies. The oilfields also needed electrical power, so Girvin received electricity in 1929 after the construction of the Rio Pecos Power Plant across the Pecos River. A salt works was built a mile west of town in 1931. In 1933 a new highway from Fort Stockton to McCamey bypassed the original townsite, and Girvin immediately began to decline. The community reported five businesses and a population of seventy-five in 1939. In 1944 the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway, which by then owned the track through Girvin, razed the section of the Girvin depot used for freight; the passenger station was closed in 1955. By 1963 the estimated population of Girvin had declined to thirty, with only two businesses reported, and by 1967 the original townsite was abandoned. During the 1980s only a few residents and a number of abandoned buildings, including a two-story concrete filling station and garage, remained at the old location.
REFERENCES: Glenn Justice, “GIRVIN, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook /online/articles/hng07). Published by the Texas State Historical Association; Texas Escapes