Day Trips

Name of Texas ghost town a misnomer

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Notrees is the proverbial wide spot in the road. About all that is left of the once thriving village 20 miles west of Odessa are a few homes, junkyards, and oil equipment yards.

If it weren't for its name, there wouldn't be much reason to mention the former town. It wasn't always so. In the Forties, a large oil field was discovered nearby and the town sprouted next to a gas plant.

Unfortunately, the refinery displaced the only naturally occurring tree in the area. In 1944, when the local pharmacist tried to get a post office for the town, he kept getting rejections to possible town names. Finally, the post office accepted the name that reflected the area's most prominent lack of features.

And then a funny thing happened. As the oil field workers built homes on the barren landscape, they planted trees. As the West Texas saying goes, "If that line of barbed wire is down, then there isn't much else to stop the wind." To combat this, most of the houses in Notrees have at least one tree to block the wind and sun. But they won't be changing the name to "Lotatrees" anytime soon.

By the Eighties, most of the town's residents had moved into the city or died. With another oil boom underway in the Permian Basin, the workers pass through Notrees on their commute to work.

1,133rd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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