History of Brownfield - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/27/10

History of Brownfield

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BROWNFIELD, TX (KCBD) – From the beginning, Brownfield has been known for its red soil, hunting and its booming agriculture. "Brownfield is a wonderful place to live. We have low taxes, good housing, and lots of good things going on in this community," says Mary Collier, Terry County Court Treasurer.

It all started long ago when the Comanche and Apache Indians first settled in this area, known for hunting and gathering. "No farming then, they didn't know how to do that, but they would hunt buffalo and hunt other creatures that were edible," says Betty Kehoe with the Terry County Heritage Museum.

In the Museum, you can see the animal's native to this region and some unusual creatures. "It was really charming, it didn't live too many days," says Kehoe.

Deep in the red soil, residents discovered sticks and arrowheads that are now preserved. "After the civil war people started coming out here more. We had some really great Indians and we had some that didn't want their territory disturbed by the white man," says Kehoe.

Free and cheap land sparked interest for most settlers. "You could buy land for 50 cents an acre. And then they didn't know what to grow on it and then they found out cotton could take this area nicely," says Kehoe.

Brownfield became incorporated in 1912 after Marion Virgil broke ground on the railroad, which ignited an industrial boom, and cotton became king. Betty Keyhoe says her stepdad brought irrigation to Brownfield. "Everybody thought he was crazy. It was really a funny thing going on in town. Sure enough they hit that water and he made a lot of people really rich in the county."

A major tragedy occurred in the late 1940's when the Johnny Portwood Motors burst into flames. "The paint, the cans began to burst. It just caused a complete loss from the ford motor company," says Jean Neal with the Terry County Heritage Museum.

Now the museum directors sit around commemorating the fun times they had in Brownfield as kids, and say this once thriving town has slowed down. "We still have a good town but when you would go down by the Court House square you would have cars all around it. Now you go down there and it's very quiet. We had Copland Hardware on the corner; we had Bailiff Jewelry, the Court House across the street," says Neal. However, it is still somewhere they will never leave.

"It's the most giving and loving community. I've been from Washington to Houston and I always come back," says Neal.

Brownfield is not only known for its agriculture community. Stars like the WNBA basketball player Sheryl Swoopes and country music singer Gary P. Nunn are both from Brownfield.

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