Deaf Smith County, Texas is honestly fascinating. There's a lot of history there, including the time two towns fought for the county seat and both of them lost so bad they don't exist anymore.
The Texas Ghost Town of Ayr
The battle for the county seat starts with the establishment of Ayr. Established in 1890, Ayr had a lot of promise. Originally it was going to be a spur for the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway.
It was supposed to be a shipping point for ranches in Roswell, and was named after the Scottish town of Ayr.
People moved in and Ayr was off to a decent start. There was a post office and they even had their own store.
Then Grenada happened.
The Texas Ghost Town of Grenada... or Should I Say La Plata
In 1890, XIT Ranch set up the town of Grenada. As was the case at the time in a lot of places, there were struggles for political power. A lot of towns thought they deserved to be the county seat.
Grenada thought they had a pretty decent case for it, so they decided to go up against the town of Ayr to see who would have the throne...so to speak.
Controversy, Corruption, and An Election
Ayr and Grenada went head to head for the county seat. Supposedly the election that was held was very controversial and reeked of corruption.
Things got so bad that Texas Rangers were called in to keep the peace.
One of the major allegations was that some of the XIT cowboys had voted twice in the election.
The End Of Ayr, Texas
Remember how the railroad was supposed to be coming through Ayr? That never happened, which was the first major blow.
The second big blow? The town lost the election to Grenada, and in 1895 the post office was gone and so was everyone else.
Ayr only lasted five whole years.
Trouble For Grenada, Texas. I mean, La Plata.
This doesn't mean everything was sunny skies for Grenada. At the request of postal officials, the town's name was changed. It was renamed La Plata.
They built a courthouse, a school, hotel, and they even set up the county's first newspaper. The good times wouldn't last long, though.
Texas Panhandle Winters Suck.
First, there was the drought they had to get through from 1891 to 1894. Then, there was the massive blizzard of 1897. At that point, a little more than half of everyone said, "screw this," and moved out.
Then, the railroad decided to up and bypass La Plata. Instead, it routed by a new contender for the county seat crown.
Hello, Blue Water
It wouldn't be long and there would be an election held officially naming Blue Water, Texas the new county seat. La Plata was around just a handful of years longer than their nemesis Ayr.
All that's left of La Plata is a graveyard on private land, and what's left in the Deaf Smith County Museum.
Blue Water, situated along the railroad, was now enjoying the title of county seat. The only big obstacle they faced was their name. There was already a Blue Water, so they needed a change.
The residents decided to rename their town, Hereford. You might also know it as the "Beef Capital Of The World."