The Ghost Town in Archer County that Hollywood Made Famous
Well looks like you guys dug my last ghost town story, so how about another one?
Just in case you didn't read my previous story on Sunshine Hill in Wichita County, you can check it out here. I saw some people requested more and as long as you keep reading them, I'll keep writing them. Today, we stay in Texoma, but move on over to Archer County.
This ghost town is actually mentioned in a novel by famed local author Larry McMurtry and also in a movie by the same name called 'The Last Picture Show. The ghost town is called Anarene. Now in the movie the town is referred to as Anarene, but in the novel it is called Thalia. Also in the sequel Anarene is mentioned in the movie 'Texasville'.
The movies are clearly set in Archer County, but many may not know that Anarene is actually a real city. Looks like the city became a ghost town sometime in the 1950s when the post office closed up shop, along with several other businesses. So how did Anarene come to be?
Looks like it was founded in 1908 along the Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad. A coal mine was setup in Newcastle and Anarene would be a stop. It was named for Anna Laurene Graham, the daughter of pioneer settler J. M. Keen who was a rancher in the area. Anarene was never a big place, at it's peak had around 100 people.
Most working for the coal mine mentioned above. When coal production stopped in 1942, that was the writing on the wall for Anarene. The railroad station would could close in 1951 and the entire railway line would be abandoned just a few years later. The peak of Anarene would be in the early 1920s when oil would be discovered nearby. This lead to the town having a store, a schoolhouse, a post office, a blacksmith shop, a filling station, and a two-story hotel.
Up in Archer County, they actually have a plaque for the extinct town of Anarene if you want to go check it out. Anarene is apparently 8 miles south of Archer City on Highway 79 if you're interested.
Alright, that's another ghost town wrapped up in Texoma. We have plenty more in our area and if you want more, just let me know. I'll do my best to try and give you at least one a week til I do them all. May even do all of Texas, we have over 500 in our state.