When oil boom towns are recalled, Ranger often leads the list. It was a quiet rural community established near a Texas Ranger camp in the 1870s. In October 1917, a gusher blew in and touched off one of the greatest booms in petroleum history. World War I demand for oil was at an all-time high. The lure of instant riches was irresistible and the town erupted with every kind of frenzied activity. In one year the population exploded from 1,000 to 30,000. Small farmers became millionaires. Four railroads raced to complete lines and one railroad's receipts jumped from $94,000 to $8,000,000 in two years.
As in most instances, the boom was short-lived and today there is no evidence of that bigger-than-life era. Oil activity is evident in orderly fields, while farming and ranching is the major interest of area citizens.