Popular Mechanics Cover Feb. 1920
February 1920 issue

Town on the move

"In 1919 the three hundred residents of Ochiltree, Texas headed for the nearest railroad and took the church, post-office, and every other building with them. All that remains of "Old Ochiltree" is one schoolhouse and a historical marker on highway 70 south of Perryton."

The founders of the bustling western town of Ochiltree, Texas needed a railroad. The economic development and growth in their farming and ranching community was tied to good transportation. Up in the Oklahoma panhandle, almost 20 miles north of Ochiltree, the people in the town of Gray also needed the railroad.

When the railroad was built from the east going west it went through open grasslands about eight miles north of Ochiltree and south of Gray. Now many people might have called that their misfortune and watched their towns slowly die.

Those who had built their stores and homes in Ochiltree and Gray decided that if the railroad wouldn't come to them, they would go to it. They merged the two towns by literally picking up their buildings off of foundations and moving to the railroad. This was quite a feat in 1919, and attracted national attention. Some of those buildings that rode across the prairie, with families inside, are still standing in the town that they named Perryton.


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