Scurry County has been home to two county capitols. The current temple of justice was completed in 1911 in a Texas Renaissance style as designed by Lang & Witchell. The original tower was removed during a remodeling project in 1950. Further changes were made in 1972, essentially burying the 1911 building in granite and giving the courthouse a Modern appearance.
The county was established by the Legislature in 1876 from lands formerly assigned to Bexar County; in 1880 there were 102 residents living in the area. The county was attached to Mitchell County for judicial purposes until 1884, when it was organized. Snyder, the growing trading post, became a town site in 1882 and the county seat in 1884.
The county was named for Confederate General William R. Scurry, while Snyder honors early settler W.H. Snyder. Upon settling in the area, Snyder operated a trading post that eventually became known as Robber’s Roost.
Scurry County is located below the Caprock in the cross-hairs of the Panhandle and West Texas. Snyder sits about 80 miles southeast of Lubbock and about 85 miles northwest of Abilene.
The first large ranch in the area was established in 1877 by Tom and Jim Nunn, who drove longhorns from South Texas to land along tributaries of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. Ranching soon became the major industry. By 1890 there were 184 farms and ranches, encompassing almost 142,000 acres in the county, and the county population had increased to 1,415. In fact, ranching dominated the local economy that year with almost 23,000 cattle and 17,000 sheep reported in the county. Crop farming was also established by that time, as 822 acres were planted in corn and 246 acres were planted in wheat.
Other industries now include cottonseed breeding, farming and petroleum processing. In 1950 the city grew from 4,000 population to more than 12,000 after the discovery of Canyon Reef Oil Field. The county currently sits on what was one of the largest oil fields in North America and is presently being regenerated by a multimillion dollar CO2 project initiated by Kinder Morgan. Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc., is a home-grown drilling company which has expanded to become the second largest in North America.
The area’s history is chronicled in the Scurry County Museum, located on the campus of Western Texas College.
The Scurry County Coliseum allows Snyder to host a variety of events, from the four-day Western Swing Music Festival to collegiate rodeos.
A portion of this text was provided by Texas Cooperative Extension
(Texas Almanac 2006-2007)