In the 1870's, as the railroad pushed through the piney woods and past Danville (or sometimes called New Danville) for 4 miles, the railroadstopped for a breather. Had the railroad stopped at Danville, there might never have been a Kilgore. Had it pushed on further than it did, there might have been another town in a spot that is rural today.
About the same time, a man by the name of C.B. "Buck" Kilgore built his home at the end of the railroad. A town's site was laid out in 1872 and most of Danville's residents moved to the town that was to become Kilgore, in honor of Buck.
Lumber, livestock, poultry and cotton were the predominate means of a living in Kilgore. In 1873 Professor Isaac Alexander opened a private school for about $10,000, which was a large sum of money in those days. Tuition ranged from $2 to $4 a month and boarding students were attracted from towns far from Kilgore. All "young ladies" were required to board with and be under the personal supervision of Mrs. Alexander and "young gents" boarded in private homes for about $12 a month.
Kilgore grew with sawmills among the pines and cotton growing white bolls in the fields. Not much changed until about 1929 when a stranger began roaming over the countryside. He was a geologist named Grogensky and he had picked the best of sites to search. Before you knew it, a well was brought in at 2,500 feet and became the gusher that was to make Kilgore unrecognizable within a few weeks as people of every description and every motive poured in from everywhere.
Some recall going into a cafe during the
boom and knowing from the smell that eating there was probably
not the safest thing they could do.
To little Kilgore, vastly unprepared for
its sudden position as capital of the largest oil field yet discoverd,
the first years of the boom were hard,
Citizens soon began to realize that the time had come for the town to become incorporated. They needed more control over police, sanitation, building and everything else that make a city operate in the best interests of the citizens. Enough signatures were put together in 1930 to present a petition to Judge W.R. Huges at the county seat in Longview. They requested that an election be held to make Kilgore an incorporated city. Thus you have the birth of Kilgore.
Kilgore is known as the "Oil City of the
World" with the world's greatest concentration of steel derricks.
It is home of Kilgore College and its famous "Rangerettes", a
women's precision drill team that preform every year in Macy's
Day Parade. Kilgore is also the home town of the famous Van Cliburn
international concert pianist.
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