Texola, Oklahoma Ghost Town


Maybe, just maybe, there is someone who still lives in Texola.  I think it’s pretty unlikely, though.  As I drove through town, I didn’t see a single person.  The census says 47 people still live here, but that was back in 2000.  They might very well be all gone.

What remains are shells of old buildings, an old jail, and a bar that somehow, beyond all explanation, stays in business.  Maybe it’s sole purpose is to scare off all the ghosts on Friday nights.

If you’re driving Route 66, you’ll pass through the middle of Texola.  If you’re on Interstate 40, take exit 1–just east of the Texas/Oklahoma line.

Our tour of Texola begins at the historic jail, just off the main road through town (remarkably, there’s a sign to tell you where to turn!)

 Yep, that’s it.  The old Texola Territorial Jail dates back to 1908-1910, according to a sign posted inside.  The sign also explains that the walls continue for several feet underground, to discourage any bad guys who plan to dig their way to freedom.

Feel free to walk right into the jail.  There’s nobody here to stop you.  That sign on the wall explains that “we” (who’s we?) are trying to make the jail into a nice museum.  Until that happens, the museum consists of some reprinted photos of criminals, taken after they were hanged.  Just tell the kids they were all sleeping… while they were standing up… and they had sore necks…

Amongst the empty ghost-buildings in downtown Texola is this big structure, that could easily have been a school, or maybe just a big house, decades ago.

I’ve read that there’s a Magnolia gas station that’s listed as a historic landmark in Texola.  Is this it?  There’s no historical plaque to read. But on the up-side, there’s no fence or No Trespassing sign either, so you can wander right in and check the place out.

Maybe this one used to be a garage.  Go ahead and walk right in.

Which came first, the divided highway or the dip?  Either way, some smart Texolan saved money combining two signs into one.

If there is one place in Texola that might actually still be alive, it’s the Texola Bar.  At least, I guess that’s what it’s called.  Any paint that was on the sign above the front door rusted away long ago.  But the words on the front of the building say it all: there’s “NO PLACE LIKE TEXOLA”.  I agree.

Another painted sign twists your mind even further.

Did you ever notice, when you say the word PLACE so many times, it stops sounding like a word?

Just beyond the bar, the 4-lane road enters the Texas panhandle.  In the half hour I spent walking into abandoned buildings, making u-turns in the middle of the street, and parking wherever I darn well pleased, I never saw a car pass, or a single human.  That, my friends, is a great ghost town.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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