NAME: Kelso
COUNTY: Deaf Smith County
CLIMATE: Hot Summer / Cold Winter
COMMENTS: Kelso is 25 miles Northwest of Hereford on County Road PP, Roads of Texas 3rd Ed. page 26 Cc.
Kelso was a hoax set up by George G. Wright, a Kansas City land promoter, as a mean of selling land in the early 1900's. The land was from the 80,000 acre Kelso block of the XIT Ranch land. Wright built a stage-set town, complete with a hotel, a general store, and a schoolhouse, that was never occupied except when carloads of tenderfeet were brought out from Hereford in the real estate men's Winton Automobiles and given the illusion that the area was well populated. The hotel was occupied solely by these propective newcomers, the school was never actually used, and customers were seen at the store loading merchandise they had purchased when buyers were around, only to return the goods to the shelves when they had left. There was also a large red barn filled with ears of corn shipped in from Iowa. For a brief time [1907-08] Kelso had a post office. Often Wright and his associated sold land at prices from $8 to $40 an acre after misrepesenting its quality and value, distance from a town, and stage of development. No one from the immediate area was permitted to ride the special from Kansas City, nor did anyone on the trains and Winton cars have a chance to mingle with the local people. Many purchasers, dryland farmers, realized too late that the town was a fake and that deep-well irrigation was necessary to raise crops of kafir corn, millet, and wheat in this semiarid environment. Isolation and the lack of a church in the area discouraged some of them. By late 1907 the entire Kelso tract had been sold as farming acreage. After proposed railroad schemes fell through, the "town" of Kelso soon disappeared. This article was taken from the New Handbook of Texas Vol. 3 page 1055. Submitted by: Texas Wandergoing, Inc.