Rita Santa, Texas
Rita Santa, on University of Texas lands and the Santa Fe Railroad in southwestern Reagan County, was built in 1925 as a community for the employees of the Texon Oil and Land Company. The town was first named Santa Rita, after the Santa Rita oil well two miles to the west, but the railroad changed the name to Rita Santa to avoid confusion with a town on its line in New Mexico. In 1929 the Texon Company was sold, other firms moved in, and by 1933 the population had risen to 350. In 1945 100 people resided in Santa Rita, but because of declining oil production the town had disappeared by 1957.
In 1921, digging for the Santa Rita began in Reagan County. The process of digging was slow and expensive. Driller, Carl Cromwell and investor, Frank Pickrell were desperate after shutting down drilling a couple of times due to lack of funds. Pickrell was on a trip to New York looking for funds , and in his own words.."The name of Santa Rita really originated in New York. Some of the stock salesmen had encouraged a group of Catholic women to invest in the Group I certificates. These women became a little worried about the wisdom of their investment and consulted with their priest. He apparently was also somewhat skeptical and suggested that the women invoke the aid of Santa Rita, who was the patron saint of the impossible. As I was leaving New York on one of my subsequent trips to the field, two of these women handed me a sealed envelope and told me that the envelope contained a red rose that had been blessed by the priest in the name of the saint. The women asked me to take the rose back to Texas with me -- to climb to the top of the derrick and scatter the rose petals, which by then were dry, over the rig and to say 'I hereby christen thee Santa Rita'. I faithfully followed those instructions."...Thereby it will forever be known as the Santa Rita .
submitted by Janice Rice
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