Its been a few years since I have been out on a true road trip and in the summer of 2017, I was able to make 3 day trips that were more than 3 hours away. I plan to share those trips and the places as I find the time to edit those images. Today I wanted to give a sneak peak of one our 750 mile round trip West Texas Rural Explore Road Trip that started in my small town of Blue Ridge, Texas to where I met up with a friend in Decatur, Texas and then traveled to Floydada, Texas. At about 6 pm we headed back to Decatur and then back to our homes. We did this trip in less than a day. Our trip took about 16 hours to complete with many stops along the way.
Why Only A Day Trip?
My photographer friend and I have different schedules and neither one of us could line up our days off in a row for a two or three day trip. So as much as we wanted to spend a couple of days on the road, we decided for a quick explore of the area. Our goal was to only stop at a few leads that I had, stop at places of interest, or locations of opportunity, and spend no more than 30 minutes to an hour at each spot. During our travels we also marked spots on Google Maps for a return explore.
Our original plan was to travel down HWY 380 and travel at least as far as Post, Texas and then loop around and head south east towards Anson, Texas and explore the surrounding areas. But once we met up, we decided to head north west and get as far as Paducah, Texas and head south until we hit 380 and head home.
We made a lot of stops along the way. We stopped to photograph and document the schools, churches, towns, and abandoned homesteads along the way. The locations listed below are just a sampling of the places we stopped. More pictures and histories on these locations coming in the future.
The Old A-Frame House in Jack County, Texas
Our first stop was to an abandoned but never completed A-Frame house. It was about 7 am in the morning and we didn’t take pictures. I’ve been to this house several times over the years and its sad to see how fast its falling apart. Even in its bad condition, its still has solid bones and could be saved. We will be returning in the near future for a night shoot and a day shoot when the lighting is better. We would love to know the story behind this house but haven’t found much information about it. Sometime in 2020 I was told by several photographers that visited this years before my first visit (2015) and it was complete house. Each time I see pictures it gets worse.
Abandoned Methodist Church in Jack County, Texas
Our next stop was a small abandoned church in Jack County, Texas. This is one of my favorite places to stop when I’m in the area. In the last few years the place has been vandalized, so I won’t be sharing the name of the church or what town its in. If you know where this church is or the name do not share it. Your comment will be deleted. Someday I will write about its history. There is very little information about the church. If you are familiar with this church and know more about it please contact me.
Abandoned Farm House Surrounded by Windmills Near Vera, Texas
Just east of Vera, Texas you will see a long line of wind generating windmills sitting in a vast fields of cotton (or whatever crop they are currently growing). In one of those fields you will see an old homestead. This abandoned farmhouse is surrounded by these quiet giants (they aren’t that quiet when the wind blows).
Another Abandoned Methodist Church in Jack County, Texas
This old Methodist Church has been abandoned for years. I couldn’t find any information about the church and I plan to visit the church again this fall when I pass through town to visit another nearby lead.
Cottle County Jail in Paducah, Texas
The Cottle County Jail in Paducah, Texas was built in 1921 and served the county until sometime in the 1980s. Originally the first floor served as the offices and living quarters for the Sheriff and active duty deputies. The second floor served as the living quarters for the prisoners and had an execution room (trap door for hangings). Now the jail serves as a visitor center and museum. The first floor was renovated to suit the needs of the museum and the second floor remains untouched accept the trap door was disabled.
Abandoned School in Cottle County, Texas
There are several towns and rural communities in Texas that are named Valley View. Valley View, Texas just west of Paducah, Texas was one of the communities that didn’t make it. All that’s left of the community are the remains of an old school and church (and of course a modern ranch or two near by). The roof has collapsed and won’t be around much longer. It sits on an active ranch. The church sits on private property and is secured. It looks to be somewhat maintained. We didn’t stop for pictures and we will be looking for a contacts to get permission to visit, tour and photograph the old church. If you know anything about the old school or church please contact us.
Whiteflat School in Whiteflat, Texas
Another community that was lost to history is the town of Whiteflat, Texas. The only original building (or closest to it) is Whiteflat School. The roof and second floor are gone. The brick walls look to be in great shape. The school could be restored or turned into someone’s house if someone wanted to spend the money on saving it. I haven’t started the research on the old school. But I did find that the old school was used in the 1950s and 1960s to hold elections and was a community center. Please contact us if you know more about the school and town.
Roaring Springs School in Roaring Springs, Texas
While driving through Roaring Springs, Texas I noticed an old school that looked abandoned. After making some calls, we got permission to document the old school. The owner says there isn’t any information on the age of the school. But it was probably built in the 1920s or 1930s. At some point the school was closed and used as storage units for residents of the town. The new owner, is converting the school into business on one half and the other half will be his residence.
Floydada School in Floydada, Texas
While exploring the school in Roaring Springs, the owner said he was salvaging a perfectly good school in Floydada, Texas. He was told by the school district they were going to buy back the land and they want to put a brand new state of the art school in its place. The district is scheduled to tear down the school in a few months. He allowed us access the school. He showed us what he was saving and what he originally planned to do with the old school.
One of our final stops was a quick survey of Clairemont, Texas. A ghost town with only a few residents left in town and ton of abandoned buildings and houses. We stopped by the Old Kent County Jail and court house. The jail is open but the court house was repurposed and locked up.
Please note: This article was originally posted to VanishingTexas.com on September 17th, 2017 and updated in January 2021.The images were shot in July 2017. This article will be updated as new information is gathered. If you have any old photos or stories you want to share, please contact or comment below.
If you have information, vintage photos or stories about any of these locations listed in this article, please contact us. We would love to add your information to our future articles.
About The West Texas Rural Explore Road Trip Images
The images shot during the West Texas Rural Explore Road Trip were shot by hand or by tripod at different times of the day. Most shots were done without the aid of a flash. I used a Sony A6000 with a Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Lens or a Sony SEL16F28 16mm f/2.8 Wide-Angle Lens. The images were then edited using Adobe Lightroom to crop, straighten and clean up the images. I used Google NIK Collection (and sometimes Topaz Labs Clarity to help give some of the images that bit of extra details) to add detail, add contrast, and sharpen/remove noise. As always my images are for sale with or without the watermark in digital and prints. Please contact me via the contact page for more information.