“One of the pleasant things about small town life is that everyone, whether rich or poor, liked or disliked, has some kind of a role and place in the community. I never felt that living in a city — as I once did for a couple of years.” ― Edward Abbey.
West Texas is a beautiful area that largely comprises of agriculture lifestyle. With this being said, this part of Texas is largely dominated by the strong presence of small, rural towns. I happen to be from a small West Texas town. Growing up in such a lifestyle has taught me many things. Although it has been an adventure to escape from it, I don’t regret growing up in it. Coming from humble beginnings has taught me to appreciate the simple things in life.
Out of all the projects I could do, I decided to make a project out of my hometown of Olton, Texas. Olton is located at about an hour drive northwest of Lubbock. It has a population of roughly around 2,000 people, and is primarily an agriculture centered community. Even though I grew up in Olton, I felt that doing a project about it would bring more appreciation to the town itself. It would not be hard to find a variety of pictures and stories from a big city, but small towns rarely get highlighted for how special they are. With my grand excuse to go home, I made the easy drive from Texas Tech to my hometown of Olton where I photo documented some important spots.
Documented below, Main Street in Olton is (you guessed it)…the main street. Although there are other streets that have important places such as the school and local restaurants, Main Street is where the prominent local businesses are lined up. Among the businesses on Main Street are Wild Plum Inn Bed & Breakfast, and the Mini Mall.
As I walked along the sidewalk near the local stores I found some quaint places that made lovely photographs.
Among the stores I went into, I walked across the street to the local grocery store. The grocery store is named Leon’s II. Why II? Well, Olton’s first grocery store was named after the guy who owned it: Leon. Leon’s was Olton’s grocery store in the 1960s before the business was passed on to other business owners. They renamed the store, and this remained Olton’s grocery store for a number of years. Eventually, the store ran out of business, and for a few years, Olton did not have a grocery store. Nevertheless, the store was taken over to prosper again. To honor Olton’s past, they named the re-opened store Leon’s II in honor of Olton’s original grocery store.
After visiting the grocery store, I went across the street to another strip of prominent businesses. This line of businesses would include the Olton Chamber of Commerce, the Olton Enterprise. Olton Clinic, Olton Pharmacy, Flourish Flowers and Pizza Parlor.
The Olton Post Office is small and quaint. It’s funny how the second “o” is a missing on the lettering.
The Sandcrawl Museum is a unique attraction to get to know Olton’s history. The museum is dedicated to the past and recent history of Olton and the people that make it what it is.
The description on the museum’s Facebook page had an interesting explanation of the Sandcrawl Museum:
“An eminent geologist, the late Frank Bryan, referred to the sand dune formation south of the City of Olton as the Sand Crawl. The Sand Crawl is a relic remnant of the upper Pleistocene Brazos River. The three to twelve mile wide strip of sand dunes extends from Curry and Roosevelt Counties in New Mexico into the western part of Hale County Texas, where it mysteriously ends. Some historic writings also refer to it as The Blue Sandhills. The sand does, indeed, crawl and is helped along by the gusty West Texas winds. The museum, which was once called ‘The Olton Museum,’ had its name changed in November of 1996 to The Sand Crawl Museum to reflect the sand dunes outside of Olton which hold so much of Olton area history.
Built in the 1940’s, the Roxy Theater once served as the town’s movie theater. After ceasing operation in 1953, it sat empty for many years until Olton citizens decided to raise money and restore it in 1996. The Roxy Theater is now used for musical concerts, talent shows and movies for high school students.
Olton Independent School District is a public school district with three campuses: Olton High, Olton Junior High and H.P Webb Elementary. I also took pictures of the Olton football field. The football field is iconic because small town football is iconic. The track was recently restored in 2011, and small town pride in sports is seen everywhere.
Olton may be small…but it has a lot of heart. The town has personality because of the people that are in it. It is a community with loving people and a lot of compassion. One thing is for sure…no matter what I do or what I accomplish, I will never forget my foundation. I grew up in a small, humble community that raised me to be the person I am today. I will never forget where I came from because sometimes the most important things in life are the simple things.