University of Texas Arlington

Thurber, Texas, Photograph Collection:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Title: Thurber, Texas, Photograph Collection
Dates: circa 1898-1920
Identification: AR88
Extent: 1 box (59 items)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Note

Thurber, Texas, is located in northwest Erath County. It was the site of coal mining operations coupled with labor troubles from its beginning in 1886. Miners were employees of the Texas and Pacific Coal Company and members of the United Mine Workers of America, Local Union 2763. By 1903 all unskilled workers in Thurber were unionized, making it the only 100 percent unionized town in the nation. The mines ceased operation in 1921 due to the discovery of oil. The town was virtually abandoned in 1933 when its sole industry, a brick making plant, ceased to operate.

Scope and Contents

Black and white photographs (original and copy prints). Images include town scenes, commercial establishments, homes, mines and miners, the brick plant, fires, Fourth of July parades, and meetings.


Photographs are loosely arranged by subject matter: miners, Fourth of July celebrations, lodge gatherings, fire in downtown Thurber, store interiors, street scenes, Thurber Square, brick plant, residential area.



Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
United Mine Workers of America. Local Union 2763 (Thurber, Tex.)--Photograph collections.
Extinct cities--Texas.
Thurber (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Document Types
Alternate Titles
Texas Labor Archives

Related Material

AR160: Thurber, Texas, History Collection

OH41: Oral History Interview

Administrative Information


Gift of Eddie Webb and Mary Jane Gentry, 1981.


Thurber, Texas, Photograph Collection, AR88, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

Processing Information

Gifts from two donors were combined to form this collection.

Container List

Box Folder
1 1 Hoisting Engineer, undated
2 Starting of Thurber Brick Yard, Thurber, Texas, 1906
3 Fourth of July Celebration, Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
4 Fourth of July Celebration, Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
5 Parade through the Miners' Residential Area, Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
6 Group Outing, Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
7 Lodge Function (Employees of T. P. Coal Company), early 1900's
8 I.O.O.F. Lodge Function, Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
9 Meeting of Rebeccahs, Thurber, Texas, 1907
10 Meeting of Odd Fellows, Thurber, Texas, 1907
11 Group of Miners, Thurber, Texas, prior to 1910
12 Group of Miners, Thurber, Texas, prior to 1910
13 Group of Miners, Thurber, Texas, prior to 1910
14 Group of Miners at No. 9 Mine, Thruber, Texas, 1906
15 Fire in Downtown Area of Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
16 Fire in Downtown Area of Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
17 Fire in Downtown Area of Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
18 Fire in Downtown Area of Thurber, Texas, early 1900's
19 List, 7 contact prints, circa 1900, undated

Box Folder
1 20 Listing of photographs 1 through 17, 1898-1912, undated

Item Description
1. Thurber Square looking north, circa 1898-1899.
2. Thurber Square, looking west, circa 1898-1899.
3. First half of general store shown in No. 1 and No. 2.
4. Interior of first general store which was wooden building.
5. Interior of first drug store which was a wooden building shown between grocery store and opera house in No. 1.
6. Know Hotel, which was located near the south end of the Thurber Square. A second wing was added to the left end later. Destroyed by fire 1907.
7. Street scene in front of general store. Baseball team attracts crowd.
8. Fire destroyed wooden hardware store and other buildings along east side of square in early 1900's. This meat market and cold storage building was built to replace them. In 1930 some company offices were moved into the building when the main office building burned.
9. (L to R) Early days meat market, cold storage, ice plant and railroad water tower.
10. Parade down the middle of town square celebrating Fourth of July or Labor Day. Opera house in left background and hardware store in right foreground.
11. Wagons taking part in holiday parade. (Note man on seat beside driver is drinking from bottle.)
12. Cooking over open barbecue pit during holiday celebration.
13. Thurber Saloon. Note Union Bar Certificate above cash register. Every worker in Thurber belonged to one of seven unions after 1903. Beer sold for 5ยข per glass.
14. Bartenders awaiting customers to celebrate the New Year of 1908. No chairs or tables were provided in the saloons; more people could be served at one time if everyone stood.
15. Part of the lower class housing provided for the miners on Stump Hill-the Mexican section circa 1912. Residents built terraces and one house of native stone.
16. View of residential area looking northeast from extreme southern edge of town.
17. Thurber residential area looking north, town is hidden by smoke from the electric power plant. African-American church is in left front.

Box Folder
1 21 Listing of photographs 18 through 34, 1900-1920, undated

Item Description
18. Residential street showing the type of houses furnished to many of miners and workers in the brick plant. None of the streets were paved.
19. Marston Street, circa 1912. Named for Edgar Marston who was son-in-law of Robert Hunter and later became president of the company.
20. Marston Steet with children at play.
21. Brick homes in Thurber furnished to company officials and some office workers.
22. Construction of first houses built atop New York Hill, circa 1917-1918. The area was named New York Hill in honor of the employees who came from the city after the discovery of the Ranger oil field.
23. Early Meat Market. Flag has 45 stars.
24. Thurber dairy, located on hill southeast of town square near Thurber Lake (Big Lake). Like all businesses in town, it was company owned.
25. The beginning of a mine shaft, Thurber, Texas. All of the digging of mine shafts and the removal of coal was done by hand. Mechanical diggers were never successfully used in Thurber mines.
26. Mine No. 10 tipple on the left and the mine power plant on the right. Lumber in the right foreground was used to shore up the ceilings in the mine.
27. Crew of No. 10 mine inside the mine tipple, circa 1901.
28. Mine No. 11 with smoke pouring out of the power plant stacks.
29. View of the back side of the brick plant looking northeast, circa 1900.
30. View of brick plant after it was remodeled, circa 1920.
31. View of brick plant after it was remodeled, circa 1920.
32. Crew inside brick plant mixing and cutting area.
33. Brick plant from another viewpoint at time of full production, 1920's.
34. Row of kilns in brick plant, each kiln capable of producting 100,000 bricks in a 4 to 6 week cycle.