Such was the headline, in part, of Winkler County News' April 28, 1944 issue. This grand opening was a really big deal in this area and of grand and great importance –anticipated and watched statewide. The newspaper itself, normally a four page publication, had two full secions and 16 total pages.
The article extolls a visit by the State Banking Examiner, Mr. B. E. Hamilton (Abilene) to the Kermit Lions Club, where he urged the community to bring their deposits to the new Kermit State Bank to make this a spectacular grand opening. So too did, Kenneth Burrows, a director of the bank, urge citizens to make their deposits on Grand Opening Day.
Not only was Kenneth Burrows a director of Kermit State Bank, he was also the Mayor –and proclaimed Monday, May 1, 1944, as "Kermit Bank Day"; inviting everyone to celebrate the merchants' and community's struggles to establish their own local bank.
Some of today's "old timers" in Kermit or those who have studied Winkler County history will recognize some of the names associated with the all new Kermit State Bank: W. H. McWhirter came to KSB as Executive Officer from Monahans, where he was a long-time cashier at the competing First National Bank; G. P. "Pink" Mitchel, a prominent, long-time rancher in Winkler County and County Commissioner, will be the President and; J. Conrad Dunagan comes on board as Vice-President –coming from Monahans, where he was manager of the Coca-Cola bottling plant. Other notable and recognizable names were, O. O. Whitten, from Wink, as another director and; Mrs. Juanita Jones, Mrs. Mamie Lovelace and Mrs. Lula Mae Yarbrough as the bank's staff. Mrs. Lovelace and Yarbrough gained their banking experience at the First National Bank of Monahans.Although the May 1st. issue of the WCN didn't delve into the actual history of Kermit State Bank (now, West Texas State Bank), it is 'colorful' and our readers may read the nutshell verson we posted in the May 21, 2009 issue of the Winkler Post.
Also sharing the headline for the week of April 29, 1944 was news of the ongoing Oil Boom in Winkler County in an article written specifically for the Winkler County News –this "special edition", by Mr. James C. Watson, then Director of the West Texas Oil News Bureau in Midland. A note on the W.T.O. News Bureau: A cursory search yielded no specific information about the entitiy but, we "think" it may have evolved into or became a part-of an established publication of the time. If any of our readers have that information –we would like to add that tidbit to our historical tivia bank.
"Above the fold"... For the week ending April 28th.
James Watson's piece concerning the oil industry in Winkler County centered around not only the depth of wells being drilled but the size and importance of the "finds" in the area –as they had garnered national recognition; putting Winkler County and West Texas in general "on the map", so to speak.
Of particular importance, according to Watson, was the quality of the crude oil being produced. Stating not only the quality but quantity would be of great value during the war effort. Although Watson does not call what we NOW refer to West Texas oil as Texas Light Sweet Crude or West Texas Intermediate, it is probably a safe assumption that is where the names were rooted. At any rate, the qualiy of the crude-oil being produced became the benchmark for all other producing areas and remains as such to this day.Read More...