History: Post the Founder & Post the Town

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C.W. Post

Charles William (C.W.) Post, was born October 26, 1854 in Springfield, Illinois to Rollin and Caroline Post. From his very roots there was instilled within Charles the perceptiveness of an inventor, an adventurer and an industrialist. He was destined to become one of the country’s most renowned entrepreneurs and philanthropists. But like so many others during the Gilded Age of fast and furious expansion, his greatest achievements would not be truly appreciated until after his death that came in 1914.

Charles went to the Illinois Industrial University in Urbana, later to become the University of Illinois. He was thirteen years old at the time. He was anxious to make his mark and his fortune and school was a waste of time to him.

After his success in persuading his parents to allow him to leave school, he joined the Illinois Governor’s Guard. His term in the guard awakened in Charles the desire to travel. After he left the guard he met up with and formed a partnership with an old school pal, Charles Moody. They decided to explore the wild West. They headed for Oklahoma Territory and the plains of Kansas. Even in those days the life of being a cowboy held a certain fascination for a young boy. They traveled extensively across the Southwest in search of

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business prospects and their fortune.

On November 4, 1874, Charles William Post was to marry Ella Merriweather, his childhood sweetheart. They were married at Pawnee, Illinois. She was twenty-one years of age, and he was twenty. The took place in the home of her Uncle. She was a music lover and a dancer. Both were industrious and ambitious, the perfect couple for what lay ahead in their future.

The marriage seemed to add fuel to Post’s already tremendous energy, though his bride was rarely seen with him in public. She preferred to remain in the Post family’s rambling Victorian estate. Though unnoticed at the time, the once lovely bride was to slowly slip into depression and become a virtual recluse from society. This seclusion would later lead to an end of what Charles felt was the perfect marriage. With her beloved Charles constantly gone she gradually, became disconcerted in the relationship.

Beginning to show signs of health breakdowns and fatigue, Charles made the first of his major business decisions. He came to the realization that big profits in the farm implement business came from manufacturing, not selling. In 1880, the ambitious inventor was to give up traveling and the road for more prosperous ventures. With a business at home, Ella felt she and Charles could spend more time together. But it was not to be.

Charles decided to start manufacturing agricultural machines and to begin making improvements on the ones already in existence. He had a tremendous foresight and an ability to anticipate the future. With the help of a friend, A.L. Ide, he put to use his ideas and applied for a patent on an improved planter they manufactured October 11, 1878. The patent was granted.

He formed a manufacturing company. Capital for the expansion proved no problem for the diligent inventor. Many investor were family members and business people of the community who believed in his ideas and had faith in his now proven business abilities. "Post Capitol City Cultivators" was opened in his wife’s name, as her funds were used as security with which to establish the loan.

It was not long before the company was well known in the farm manufacturing industry and expansion was called for. The company was booming and the work load was increasing along with it. Between the years of 1879 and 1897, Post applied for and received patents on the following inventions: Seed Planter, March 4, 1879 Steam Pump, September 9, 1879 Cultivator, April 4, 1882 Sulky Plow, November 28, 1882 Cultivator, June 28, 1883 Harrow, May 24, 1883 Hay stacker, March 25, 1890 Suspenders, November 7, 1893 and Cooking Utensils, January 5, 1897

The Patent numbers can be found by contacting the U.S. Patent Office. Through these inventions he was to realize considerable revenue and prestige. Other Post inventions, though not patented, included a new version of player piano, a paddle to be used to generate electricity from water power and a revised bicycle.

Supply was simply unable to meet the demand. More room and faster tooling was needed to meet the requirement. On November 10, 1885, Post entered into yet a larger factory. This one organized by a corporation called the Illinois Agricultural Works. Charles’ relentless creativity required his constant absence from home. It was not long before Ella became even more saddened in her marriage to Post. She lapsed even further away from the public and remained in their home, increasingly more detached. It seemed to her that even friends and acquaintances looked down upon her.

Soon his business became so successful that a local banker tried to take control of the company by means of a note. The note was to be signed by Post’s mother and father without the knowledge of their son. The parents had been induced to sign a mortgage on their homestead as additional security for the note on the business. Some believe this was the onset of the many nervous breakdowns he was to experience in his life. The quarrel between the banker and Post went on for many years, well into his Battle Creek years.

Charles felt the need to be involved in every aspect of each venture he was associated with. Soon overwork, constant strain and fatigue began to take its toll on his health. He found a temporary cure in the time he spent relaxing with Ella. He felt rest was all that was needed. Ella found sanctuary in what he felt was a temporary setback. They were finally able to spend a small amount of time together.

They worked on music rolls for his improved player piano. They sat for hours and cut the tiny holes needed in the rolls. During this same time he was to add two wheels of the same size to the already patented bicycle, which previously had a wheel of different sizes on opposing ends which added to the instability and was the cause of many injuries.

Slowly, and against the advice of his wife and doctors, he began adding work and returning to his usual rigorous schedule. It was only a short time before the results of the load caught up with him. Post suffered what was to be the beginning of many serious nervous breakdowns and ill health in 1885. He was forced to remain home and was not allowed access to any business dealings. Soon the company felt his absence and liquidation of the firm was taken by the bank. This forced him to relinquish his position with the company. This was the only major business failure he was to experience in his career.

It was many years before he was able to set the record straight on the matter of what really transpired in the business’s down fall. His complete recovery from this severe breakdown and collapse was extremely slow and required several months. Again, he devoted his time to inventions and relaxation.

His doctors informed him that as soon as he felt he was capable of travel, he should consider a move to a warmer and drier climate. Post chose to travel Texas. He roamed the range of the Llano Cattle Company’s Curry Comb Ranch in the High Plains as a cowboy under the name of Charles Williams. The solitude of the undeveloped West offered the freedom and the healing touch that he felt he needed. He slowly improved and expanded his range to other regions of West Texas. It is then, the reputed story goes, that he sat under a Mesquite Tree on the Caprock and looked down on the panoramic view and envisioned a beautiful City, an oasis in the desert. He saw streets lined with trees, wells brimming with cool water, grazing herds of cattle and a flowing sea of cotton bending in the breeze. This dream of a new world in the wilds would not be forgotten in his mind, it would remain forever … and eventually come true. ( Post, TX. vision)

C.W., along with his brother Carroll, struck out for the wild and adventurous country of Fort Worth, Texas in search of a future. A suitable location and business investment was found and the two returned to Illinois with the news and well thought out plans for the future of the entire Post family. A place to live and a means of support for the family had been found.

With the help of a group of real-estate investors, they purchase a 200 acre ranch on the outskirts of Fort Worth. Fort Worth was a booming cow town and Post saw the investment as a prosperous venture that offered little, or no mental or physical effort, but offered a tremendous return. In 1887 the entire family moved to Fort Worth, with the exception of Ella and C.W. They remained behind waiting for the expected birth of their first and only child in the fall. The rest of the family went to Texas and began Post and Company, a real estate business. Following the birth of their child, C.W. and Ella first went to California, to further his recovery.

In February of 1888 they joined the rest of the family in Texas. There they first resided in the famous and then new, Ellis Hotel, considered the best in town. It is quite possible it was there that he acquired his love for the white Stetson hat and Texas attire that was to be associated with him the rest of his life. He settled in the Post and Company offices and soon became a trustee of that company as well as secretary of the East Fort Worth Town Company. Post moved in May of 1888, from the Ellis Hotel to their ranch.

With his renewed health, he once again regained the confidence that was necessary in business. He persuaded businesses of many types to relocate to their land. He knew the importance of the location, close to the city and near a railroad and he stressed these advantages during his long and arduous business meetings for the next two years. He in fact laid out the town. This was also to be of advantage to him in later years when he was to build his own city in the wilderness, Post City. It seemed as though he had found his elusive gold mine. This was where he was to make the fortune he knew he was destined to make. But once again, doom was lurking in the background to spell disaster in his life.

In the fall of 1888 He suffered another nervous breakdown, this one more severe than the last. He was forced to abandon his work. His illness was labeled as chronic by the Texas doctors, but his family would not accept this diagnosis. They believed rest would once again be the cure. As before, they joined together and sacrificed by sending him away where he would be free from the daily pressures of work. Leaving the company to devote his entire time to recovery, he spent the summer of 1889 on the Atlantic seaboard. During the winter of that same year, he returned to Fort Worth. With his health improved and with new enthusiasm he turned his interests back to more adventurous businesses. This time his project was building a woolen mill, four miles southwest of Fort Worth. Knowing the significance of getting your manufactured product to market, he chose a location on the Houston & Texas Central Railway.

In the fall of 1890 he approached another ambitious project, another mill. This time the project was more inventive than before. Knowing that the West was fast filling with people who would need homes and these homes, out of necessity, would be built primarily of wood, he felt trees would soon become scarce. Post intended making paper from the over abundance of Texas cotton seed hulls. But his ambitiousness and over work once again took its toll on his health. This time it was even more serious. He became an invalid and rest would not be the answer this time. He needed expert medical attention immediately. The family had heard of a nationally known clinic in Battle Creek, Michigan, then no more than a wide spot in the road. It’s tactics were considered unorthodox for the times, but its reputation for success was widely known and could not be dismissed. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was their answer to what had been declared a hopeless cause.

Post, his wife and his daughter boarded a train for Battle Creek, Michigan. They arrived there in February of 1893. His deteriorating health had him Confined to a stretcher. He was only a shadow of the towering figure he was to become.

Battle Creek had become a gathering place for illnesses that common medicine had failed to cure. C.W.’s arrival in Battle Creek was to effect the future of generations of people around the world. It would not only affect breakfast foods, cereals, health and politics, but it revolutionized and perfected an industry that had not yet been envisioned; fast food and mass advertising. Oat meal used to be cooked for long hours in a hot kitchen on a wood stove, sometimes taking all night to prepare. Advertising was done only on a limited local basis and national advertising campaigns were thought useless. Is it possible that places like McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and others inadvertently owe their allegiance to C.W. Post, and his advertising expertise?

The sanitarium had gained nation wide acclaim. Its approach to healing was through proper foods, meatless meals, mental science, calisthenics, water therapy and many fads of the time. The approach was controversial for its time, though it seemed effective, and the sanitarium reputation was unprecedented.

Due to the great success at the sanitarium of people like Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, may physicians, and advocated of various types of diets, fads and cure-alls flowed into Battle Creek by the trainload.

Dr. Kellogg and his brother had not yet successfully marketed a health food. But C.W. Post, the man who arrived on a stretcher, was the one to show them the way. Having found a new way of eating and with his health recharged, Post remembered a concoction he had been served on the Texas Plains. Farmers wives, with little or no store bought goods had come up with a mixture of their own as a substitute for coffee.

The mixture was a blend of chicory, with roasted wheat and other grains found in the Texas Plains. Post began experimenting with the mixture after his health had been restored. Coffee’s side effects on the body were of concern to Post, but he liked the taste. He put all his efforts into making a substitute with the same taste, but without the ill effects that caffeine had on the body.

He established the La Vita Inn, a sanitarium at Battle Creek, and systematically began work on his coffee substitute. After a year of relentless work and experimentation, a suitable substitute was developed from wheat, bran and molasses, which he thought was tastier than chicory. He gave his mixture the name, Postum Food Coffee. At this time, 1894, not many food stuffs were advertised. Most advertising went to soaps, stove polish, patent medicine and the like.

After perfecting his Postum Food Coffee, Post was left with the problem of marketing his product. Getting the product into the public eye was the key to a successful product, as much or even more than its quality.

He knew that no matter how good a product was, if the buying public was not aware of it, they would never taste it. In February, 1895, Post went to the neighboring town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. With a larger population, larger grocery stores and a newspaper with a wide circulation, the Evening Press, he launched a massive advertising campaign.

His first move was expansion to a wider market. By advertising in a wider area, a wider market demand was created. After repeated expansion and advertising, Post had created the FIRST nation wide advertising campaign in this country. While C.W. Post has been called the "grandfather of advertising", he did not originate advertising though he did become the largest single advertiser in the country. He led the way for more diversified and flamboyant ad copy by what he preferred to call "plain words for plain people".

In the first year of business sales were a mere $5000. By 1896, however, sales had topped the $260,000 mark. 1897 brought sales of over $840,000 and a new product with which Post’s was to become synonymous, Grape Nuts, and shortly after came Post Toasties.

Post’s genius in advertising promoted a good breakfast food that could be prepared quickly and was packaged with health in mind. Other businessmen seeing the value of Post’s advertising campaigns, attempted to cash in on his success.

Soon Charles was to feel the pressure of the competition. Sales began to fall. A wide spread advertising campaign was launched targeting imitation products. Friends urged Post to make a cheaper grade of Postum, but he refused. With his usual cunning and courage, Charles took a great risk. He organized a separate company named Monk’s Brew and sold the product at one-fifth the price of Postum, five cents a package. The packages proclaimed they contained a product that was equal to the quality of Postum. This was a true statement. The boxes were indeed filled with genuine Postum, under the name of Monk’s Brew.

Post’s cooking process was also innovative and he sought to protect it from competitors who might attempt to duplicate it. He applied for a patent on his Cooking Utensil. It was granted to him in January, 1897. Grape-Nuts was introduced to the market for the first time in January of 1898, and to this day it is Post’s only product not successfully copied by a competitor.

By 1909 Grape-Nuts and Post Toasties had surpassed Postum’s annual profits of $1,460,009. Post attributed this to his advertising campaigns. Simplicity is what he used in his campaigns. He believed that intimacy was important to the women of the world. If they could relate to you as a friend, they would trust you and your product. This would influence their buying habits.

Charles bought large ads in newspapers nation wide. He spoke concerning health matters, and launched a Pure Food crusade. Through this he was directly responsible for getting the Pure Food Bill passed. Post had by this time successfully marketed his products in South America and England. W.K. Kellogg, a cereal competitor, had launched his breakfast food, but was not able to beat Post’s world wide reputation. It was not until after Post’s death that Kellogg’s sales made any substantial climb.

Most of Post’s advertising campaigns had been written by him personally. Post felt that fancy wording was intimidating to the average housewife. Simplicity, sincerity and plain truth were a language that people could relate to, and that was the key. By the twentieth century, Post had gained world acclaim as an authority on advertising.

Post's products had brought him great wealth. But once again it began to take a toll on his already frail health. He traveled extensively as a form of relaxation to countries of continental Europe. He went to England on a yearly basis. This allowed him the luxury of relaxation, but also a chance to keep in constant touch with his English branch.

His great wealth did not make him lose touch with reality. He felt a kinship with his employees. he tried desperately to maintain a paternal kindness toward them. It was not until his corporations has grown so immense he knew only a small portion of his employees, that his personal employee relationship with them ended, and for this he grieved.

Even though Charles was unable to be personally acquainted with his employees, he did no neglect them, nor did he ignore what he felt his duty to return to mankind a portion of what it had given him.

He believed that first impressions were lasting impressions. Against advice from his friends and associates, Post erected an elaborate hotel, Post Tavern. He remembered what it meant to be able to enter a strange town and find a comfortable bed, good food and a friendly atmosphere.

Charles’ concern for his employees did not stop with material things. He felt a true concern for their labor-management struggle as well. He paid well, and saw that his employees had as safe a working environment as possible. His fight with the American Federation of Labor soon became well known. Though his employees knew of his generosity, the rest of the world saw him as a merciless businessman. But Charles was not as he appeared to the masses, and soon the nation was to realize this.

Soon Mr. Post was elected president of the National Industrial association, an organization founded in 1903 that was against closed shop. He renamed it the Square Deal, with, "The National Organ of the Open Shop Movement," as a spearhead. Post was revered by capital as a gallant champion and by labor as its worst enemy.

In the fall of 1906, Charles employed a Texas rancher, T.P. Stevens, to look over some ranches for him in West Texas. Post bought 213,324 acres of land, including 333 square miles of Garza County, on which he was to build his town.

As C.W. Post became more active in political and labor activities, and with his daughter going to private school in Washington, he set up a Cabinet of management to handle his affairs in Battle Creek, as well as his affairs in Texas.

His Texas affairs manager was H.C. Hawk. Hawk was responsible for stocks, bonds, real estate and supervision of the Double U Ranch beginning in 1906. His other control included, Canadian Postum Cereal Ltd., Grape Nuts, Enquire Publishing Company, Home & Fireside Magazine, Young Fuel & Pure Ice Company and a labor publication known as Square Deal.

It seemed as though anything he touched turned a profit. All but one, that is, Elijah’s Manna. It was introduced in 1906, as a prepared breakfast food. The name in itself was to cause him much grief and anguish. The American religions accused Post of sacrilege. Though he protested, he was forced to recall the product and repackage it under the name of Post Toasties. Post Toasties made him a net profit of $2,185,820 in 1908.


Post City, Texas

C.W. Post had his own ideas on philanthropy. He said, "the welfare work I believe in is that which makes it possible for man to help himself, but does not include holding the milk bottle after he is weaned." This was his philosophy behind building Postumville, the town in Battle Creek, MI. he built for his workers, and was soon to be the same philosophy he followed to build his farming community, his oasis in the desert on the plains of West Texas.

The Cereal that Won the West
Charles William Post, a Texanized Yankee with a nervous stomach, not only rewrote the

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breakfast of the nations but he changed the geography of his adopted state. His monument is the town of Post, built on the edge of the Staked Plains caprock escarpment, with money he made by inventing a coffee substitute called Postum and a cereal made for corn which is known as Post Toasties. Mr. Post paid high wages, with good working conditions, and encouraged his cowboys to become land owners by loaning money at low interest, but when he tried to improve their health by ordering the cook to serve Postum for 10 days to wean his ranch hands away their coffee, the cowhands threatened to ride off the range. After a couple of days he relented and again served coffee. Post firmly believed that coffee was poison.

C. W. Post purchased the 333 acres of ranch land in Garza/Lynn counties from early settlers and ranchers. The stories of the Lazy S. Ranch, O. S. Ranch and the families of John Bunyan Slaughter, W. E. Connell, John Scarborough others are on the "First Ranches" page.

After his many other interests were attended to, Post was able to direct more attention to his Texas venture. His idea of relaxation, to restore his health was to travel, which in turn was actually work. His true relaxation was personal involvement in physical labor. His dream town in Texas, Post City, would eventually lead to the final breakdown in his health.

His dream was a community in which a family could acquire a home with low money down and low monthly payments. He did not believe in a handout, he believed the purchaser should have the means of self support, after the purchase of their home.

Typical Homestead There were two designs of C.W. Post farm homes. The square four room bungalow and the larger "fifth room Houses". Many settlers called this fifth room the "weaning room" as the porch room was often used by newly wed offspring as their first dwelling until they could obtain a farm home of their own. This was the Thomas homestead in Grassland built in 1915.

The state of Texas had plenty of land, wide open spaces and agricultural potential, land and resources for raising cattle and a sparse population. Texas would be the ideal place for his colonization dream. Post, his wife, daughter Marjorie, son-in-law Ed Close, and T.P. Stevens, made the trip to the Western Plains of Texas in Feb. 1906.

They traveled by rail to just South of Wichita Falls, then switched to hacks and springboard wagons. A ruthless blue northerner came through partway through their journey. A "Blue" can prove disastrous for those caught without shelter or protection. Driving cold winds and freezing rain can create life threatening situations in a matter of minutes. Just as things began to look their worst, a tiny corn storage shack appeared.

Luckily, a little stove was off to one side. Although there was no wood, there were plenty of corn cobs, which they fed continuously to the stove during the night. After surviving that bleak night, and the passing of the storm, Charles insisted on looking up the owner the next day and paying him for the corn and the use of the bin.

After they arrived at their destination Post made contact with the owner of the Curry Comb Ranch and other lands in the area. The deal was made and the land was purchased in February, 1906. According to an article in the Kalamazoo Enquire, March 15, 1906, Post is quoted as saying in part, "After inspecting the lands and returning to Fort Worth, Ed Close and I inspected the agent’s report and bought the well known Curry Ranch of 112,000 acres and another adjourning 50,000 acres."

He did not, at that time, reveal to the public his intention to build his city. By the end of the year Post had acquired a total of nearly 250,000 acres. He continued, "It is 75 miles from the nearest railway headquarters, but we are going to push the railway through the property."

One of the first orders of business in setting up his new town was the formation of a company to run his affairs in this venture. He named the company, The Double U Company (the origin derived from Post’s vision of his town as a "Double Utopia"). The first manager was W.E. Alexander. Post began his venture with $50,000.

His plan for an experimental community had been years in the planning. The first seeds of idea are said to have sprouted during his trip to Texas. He knew finding people to purchase his experimental farms would not be hard. The problem, he felt, would be keeping the undesirables out. To help eliminate this problem he relied on his trusted employee H.C. Hawk.

The time had arrived to put his plan into action, and in 1907, Post headed for Texas. He and "Uncle Tom Stevens" boarded the train, stopped in Kansas City to purchase "big" mules for the arduous freighting operations that would be needed for the tons of supplies needed to build the town. The nearest railhead was Big Spring, nearly eighty miles across the harshest terrain that Texas had to offer. Stevens and seventy-two mules arrived in Big Spring in early February, 1907. In South Bend, Indiana, Post purchased two dozen freight wagons and a hundred sets of harness to complete the mule train hookup. They labored for over a month in Big Spring preparing for the journey.

WAGON TRAIN Hauling lumber to build the City of Post. Leaving Big Spring, 1907

The route decided on was to be by way of Gail and Tahoka, . The trail was rough but passable as long as the weather was cooperative and loads were not overly heavy. The wagons were loaded to heights never before witnessed, the mules wore new collars, leather harnesses and bridles with heavy leather blinds to deter them from panicking along the steep drop-offs. The shiny red wheels on new green wagons glittered in the sunlight as word was given to "move out". The outfit moved slowly northward up the long grade of the Caprock and toward Post’s utopia, the first of many trips to the promised land.

To ease the strain of the journey, Post had roads repaired and freight stations built to comfort the mule skinners along the trail. Mindful of both men and the mules, he ordered that plenty of food be kept on hand for the mules as well as the men.

Even with the road repaired it was still too poor to handle extra heavy loads of freight. An alternate route was located by an engineer named C.A. (Chief) Marchoff. The route chosen was through Snyder. Brush was cut and trees cleared to a spot twenty miles southeast of Post City. From there it followed the Caprock to Fluvanna. A road was blasted up the Caprock to Post City. Eventually the county and the company collaborated and the roads were made into passable condition.

Before the arrival of the first mule train, with nothing but the stakes Post had driven in the ground marking the site of the proposed town. Alexander erected twenty tents for the workmen and a large tent for cooking and dining. Workmen were recruited from nearby towns and ranches or sent by Post from Battle Creek. Thirty five houses were finished by the end of May. The farm plots were marked off in 80 and 160 acre sections. The homes were all being constructed on the corners of the adjoining properties. Post felt that this would help to relieve the loneliness of the women on the desolate plains. This later proved to be nearly disastrous and the homes were moved to the center of each property.

On May 10th, Alexander wired Post that Garza County had been surveyed and the geographical center of the county was found to be eight miles East of the town. The laws of Texas required that a county seat be within four miles of the center of the county. Determined to make his town the county seat, Post rushed down from Battle Creek on May 19th to scout a new location. He found the final site for Post City within the four mile limit, three miles from the Caprock. The abandoned site, Close City, also known as Ragtown, (because of the tents), was abandoned. He ordered the entire town relocated to the new location, in the breaks country below and 2 miles East of the Caprock.

The first concrete block building to be erected was the commissary, a massive building thirty feet by fifty feet. Next came the workmen’s dining room, kitchen, office buildings and three residences. A planing mill run by a gasoline engine was built to prepare lumber.

All supplies, movable buildings and materials were laboriously moved to the new location. On blasting a trail to enable the supplies to be moved down the embankment of the Caprock, Alexander discovered a large deposit of white sandstone. The discovery was kept quiet until a quantity of the material was acquired. Post was then notified of the discovery and he immediately instructed the Double U to use the find to construct the first rock buildings in the town, Due to the hauling distances, this was an important discovery.

On July 7th, 1907, a vote was taken and Post City was proclaimed the county seat of Garza County. The scene of the settlement was a vast prairie, eighty miles from the nearest railroad or civilized settlement. Roads were mere trails, there were no bridges to cross streams, stubborn mules and horses were the sole means of transportation. To Post it was a challenge. He hired more laborers and forged on.

By June a planing mill, a shed for storing cement, a blacksmith shop, and a workroom for carpenters had all been completed. Forty carloads of materials from Beaumont had been shipped to Post City. Construction was progressing at a near frantic pace. The first of many rock buildings to be erected was a company building that would house eight stores. Two Scottish stone masons, George and Charlie Sampson, and Jimmy Napier were in charge of the masonry construction. The trio arrived in Post City directly from Scotland.

The Algerita Hotel hotel had 30 rooms, good food, lavish furniture and beautiful paintings. The linens were to be changed after each guest. Postum and Grape-Nuts was to be placed in covered dishes on each table in the dining room. As in all his endeavors, Post demanded perfection in his hotel. (Now, The Algerita Art Center)

By 1907 over 300 prospective residents had answered Post’s call to his city. People were arriving faster than housing could be constructed. Bungalow style homes were built in 11 days, but a place for the visitors to stay while they surveyed their properties was needed. A hotel was the answer, one that could offer visitors comfort and style. Post sent precise plans for the construction and supplying of the new hotel. The Algerita Hotel, named after a desert shrub, was soon to be the talk of the West. The doors were opened for business in July, 1908.

Post would not tolerate shoddy work and he paid close attention to all work and machinery around him. He arrived in Post City in November to observe the construction first hand. He took much pride in the size and the beauty of what he was building. With his usual deportment he gave specific instructions on how the first elevator in West Texas should be installed, along with a few windows and doors. No detail was insignificant.

Other native stone buildings, constructed with native stone from Alexander’s Quarry. were a restaurant, rooming house, planing mill, office building, paint house and machine shop.

Drug, grocery stores, lumber yards and other necessary stores began to appear . Post drafted a set of guidelines to be followed by all businesses. One rule he demanded be followed strictly was no liquor. If any alcoholic beverages were found being sold in any of Post City’s establishments, the establishment was to be closed down immediately.

To connect with the outside world, Post ordered a fast traveling, light weight mail and passenger hack into service between Snyder and Post City twice a week. Twenty light mules were trained. Four for each of the two hacks from Post to Fluvanna and the same from Fluvanna to Snyder, with a reserve of two were kept at each end of the run.

The Santa Fe Railroad was building South from Plainview to Lubbock. The road to Lubbock, though ten miles further, offered an alternate route. The terrain of level and high plains was much easier to traverse, and much safer. It seemed only logical to Post that a road be constructed from there on to Lubbock.

In September, 1909, Post wrote that he was shipping a large load of water pipe to Lubbock by way of the Santa Fe. The freighting charge from Lubbock to Post City was five cents a hundred weight cheaper than the rate from Fluvanna. Post got in touch with the Vice President of the Santa Fe, W.B. Story Jr. And gained his cooperation in making deliveries as close to Post City as possible. At first, Santa Fe asked the Double U to build a side track at Beresford Siding. However, it was later agreed that the company was under no obligation to do so and Beresford Siding began receiving carloads of freight destined for Post City. The railroad was completed into the city on November 18, 1910.

On December 22, 1910, it is recorded, the company received twelve carloads of freight by rail, into Post City. The first passenger train steamed into a festive welcome on January 15, 1911. Town and country folks turned out for the occasion.

The trip up and down the Caprock was steep. The earlier TransWorld powered by steam, lacked the power to back up the grade so the trains were required to back into Post City to enable them to have a straight forward pull at the hill. Work continued feverishly to complete the Post City station. The new freight depot, passenger station, switches, side tracks and railroad yard were finished by the end of January. But, it did not stop there. The Santa Fe was building a line from Coleman through Sweetwater and Snyder to connect with the Amarillo-Post City line. Post City was not only connected to Lubbock and point s North, it was connected directly to the national lines.

After the arrival of the Santa Fe, people began arriving in Post City in as many as 11 immigrant cars per day. Poor communications with the outside world was no longer a problem. The old freighting days were gone. Mules and wagons were replaced by railroad cars. The city was no longer a wide spot on a desolate trail.

In 1906 there were less than 200 people. By 1907 over 300 had arrived and by 1908 the population was doubling by the year. The quest for water in the semiarid plains was a major stumbling block. In the beginning, water was hauled from atop the cap where a producing water well had been drilled by Alexander in 1907. The only water on site in Post City was from cisterns built to capture infrequent rain fall. Small tanks and lakes furnished water for the stack. A well was drilled in town to a depth of over 250 feet was dry. Teamsters kept water wagons moving in and out of the town day and night. Water was needed for both drinking and for the mortar in building the township.

The water problem had to solved if Post City was to prosper. Alexander made a futile attempt at piping water into Post City with a makeshift pipeline from Keith’s Spring, producing only two gallons per minute. Referred to it sarcastically as Alexander’s "Pet Spring", Post arrived to take charge. He concluded that an abundance of water could be piped from atop the Caprock to the town site by way of wells and gravity. Windmills would extract the water from the ground and the steep slope of the Caprock would provide the necessary power to bring it into town.

He ordered Alexander to drill fifteen or twenty wells on the High Plains, a mile and a half South of the Commissary. The first water works sent the supply of water into a reservoir, but it was obvious it could not be used for any length of time in fear of contamination, and was therefore only a temporary measure. Even with the eighteen foot windmills pumping as fast as the Texas winds could turn them, the water supply was inadequate. Post sent orders that a ten foot diameter, brick lined well be dug. The eighty-plus foot well when completed held over fourteen feet of fresh water. A new rock and masonry reservoir was built and a gasoline engine furnished the power for the pumps that were capable of delivering over one hundred gallons of water per minute. Along with the giant eighteen foot windmills, the seventeen wells still proved to be inadequate. After several reservoirs were built and dozens more wells drilled, a check for $29,000 from Post was still needed to finish the project and provide an adequate water supply. The water works was completed in 1912.

Mr. Post grew up around greenery and wanted this for his model town. He concluded that he would build an ideal town and rural community where flowers and trees would bloom in the desert. He envisioned orchards, fruit trees and yards well stocked with roses and other flowers. This was apparent very early on, in clippings he sent to his manager, W.E. Alexander form the Kansas City Star as early as 1907. He ordered trees be planted thirty feet apart for a distance of two miles on each side of the highways leading in and out of Post City. He ordered parklets or plots on downtown streets and a large park to be landscaped South of town.

Post sent specific plans to Post City as to how the homes and farms were to be built. He wanted to experiment with the trees, fruits, vegetables and other things that would be needed to sustain life on the farms. If the tenants could not make a living they would not be happy and therefore would not make good tenants.

They were to have three acre orchards, vegetable gardens, grapes and the necessary fencing. But before putting the farms up for sale, Post felt that he might as well carry on some detailed experiments in farming in the area, since he was in no particular hurry anyway. For the next seven years Post carried on extensive and detailed experiments. Alexander was put in charge of the dry land farming. He had previous dry land experience, growing vegetables and various other crops that Post was interested in. Forty farms were built on the plains with corn and several varieties of vegetables planted. Low yields were harvested and the reason was excused by Post as being Alexander’s northern way of planting. In reality he had not mounded the rows to enable the water to soak into the crops.

In addition to the standard crops - corn, cotton and oats - Kaffir corn was planted. Milo, Sudan grass, cow peas, wax beans, broom corn, peanuts and hundreds of others were also planted. Rainfall for the season was average. The harvest for 1908 was better than expected. Two mouse-proof bins had to be built to hold the surplus. After years of experiments, both successes and failures, it was decided that red Kaffir corn and cotton were the hardiest and were best suited for the area. Plowing was also experimented with. The more deeply plowed areas yielded more that three times that of the shallower ones.

By the spring of 1909 the fruit trees he had planted had begun to produce fruit. When the farms were sold it became the responsibility of the new tenants to care for the orchards and gardens. Many of them neglected to do so. As the residences were sold, the ground was broken up, Bermuda grass, roses and many other flowers were planted. In an effort to induce tenants to maintain them a cash prize was offered for the best yards.

Homes in the city were built in four classifications: one, two, three and four bedrooms. Prices ranged from $800 and up, depending on the home and its location. Most were built in the bungalow style that Post was so fond of, though some had rock lower walls and stucco. All were offered at low down payments with low monthly payments.

Colonization of the town was proceeding at a rapid pace, but the farm colonization was much slower. Massive nation wide advertising campaigns were started. Distribution ranged from as far West as Washington state to as far East as Washington DC Because of the slow rate of sales, he decided more improvements were needed on the farms. Wells were dug, fencing was erected, sheds were built and animals were stocked in many. Still the farm sales did not keep up with the town sales.

He finally decided to completely change his approach. He would rent the farms to people who might eventually want to by then, then improvements would be made an the land tilled, increasing its value and appeal to the tenants. Full page ads were taken out in several papers advertising the lease of the farms. The ads offered farms to be leased at low rates for five years which could then be purchased at a cost that was agreed upon in the beginning. Letters began arriving at an alarming rate.

Special fares were arranged with the railroads for prospective colonists going to Post City. They were met at the depot and driven around to the various lease farms and homes. They were treated like royalty. The farms that were not rented were farmed by Double U employees to ensure that properties were kept up.

Post City had finally begun to really grow. Schools were started in two homes in 1908, a Volunteer Fire Department was formed and a baseball team organized for the amusement of the men. In 1909 the girls organized a basketball team and the ladies formed a sewing circle which met on Wednesdays in the hotel. The ladies from the farming communities started a literary society. Churches met in homes and other buildings. Post City had gained a social life.

In the beginning, Post owned and operated all of the businesses in Post City. It was his intention to establish them and as residents arrived they would be sold or leased to private individuals. Post’s favorite business in his dream town was the hotel. But the hotel lost money from the start. Finally, in 1913, a young couple by the name of W.E. La Fon and wife took over management of the hotel. By December of that year they were doing so well that the board raised their salary. The following March, J.K. Witt took over and the institution continued to at least break even.

One other white elephant was the laundry. It was hoped that the laundry would draw customers from Tahoka and neighboring communities. As it turned out the equipment was all either too large or too small to be effective.

Another business that contributed to their trouble was the company store. The store sold everything from windmill parts to food goods. One section was cordoned off and served as a drug store or apothecary. Needless to say the bookkeeping in a business selling such a wide variety of merchandise was a nightmare. Eventually the books were balanced and a new, simpler system put in place.

Post originally planned on selling the large store, with its eight different sections to one individual as a package deal. They were eventually sold separately. One be one as colonists arrived and purchased the businesses, the Double U was free of their merchandising enterprises.

Communication with outside communities was a major problem. In the beginning, a telephone line was run to Clark’s ranch, southwest of town. This line connected them to Snyder, Colorado City and Fort Worth. A few weeks later a line was run to Tahoka, by way of pasture fences. It worked nicely as long as the wind did not blow and it did not rain. By December the wire had arrived and poles and proper lines were installed. Switchboards were purchased and a building built to house the new telephone exchange. The Garza Telephone Company operated until 1919, when it was sold to Southwestern Bell.

A bank was needed for the new community. The First National Bank of Post City was opened with capital stock of $50,000, of which Post held 26,000 dollars, the controlling interest. H.B. Herd was made president and W.O. Stevens cashier.

In 1910 the Double U Company had built 59 new homes in town, all of which were sold. Other buildings erected the same year were a two story office building, a Masonic lodge, a school building, a church, a grain elevator and a movie house. In April, 1909, Post sent plans for a cotton gin to be built in Post City. The gin buildings and warehouse were completed in September. Enough cotton was ginned to keep the gin busy, but not all year around. Post decided another enterprise was need.

A cotton mill seemed the most logical choice. Construction began in February, 1912, and continued for more than a year. The total floor space for the Postex Cotton Mills gigantic buildings was over 136,000 square feet. The power house was equipped with three 300 horse water boilers and two 450 horse Corliss engines. The influx of people and jobs strengthened the community and added more stability to the town. The mill was the first in the nation that would take the raw cotton from the fields and turn out the finished products. Garza Sheets soon became known for their high standard of quality nationwide.

Post’s experiments had made him a wealthy and somewhat noted man. But none of his previous experiments come close to matching the one he was about to try. Post was in Texas during the 1800s when rainmaking was in its heyday. Congress had appropriated $9,000 with which General H.E. Dryenforth of the U.S. Army, carried out rainmaking experiments in Midland, Texas. Gunpowder and balloons filled with gas were set into the heavens and ignited. In sixteen days of explosions he got three heavy rains and nine showers. Post figured that if he could make it rain when and where he wanted it to he would go down in history as the greatest inventor in the world. He could remember tales of rain resulting after great battles, such as Napoleon’s battle days, and the talk of the Civil War veterans and their stories of all the rainfall following intense cannonading.

Post’s first rain experiment was in 1910. Two pounds of dynamite was flown into the sky and ignited in the clouds. After the first experiment, Post deemed that the kite method was too dangerous. Later, fourteen pounds packs of dynamite was spaced fifty feet apart for a quarter mile and lighted on the ground at ten minute intervals. In one battle, as he liked to call them, 3,000 pounds of dynamite was ignited in 1,500 shots. Rain fell almost immediately.

In 1912 alone over 24,000 pounds of dynamite was exploded in an attempt to produce rain. A slight rainfall was reported in Crosbyton, Slaton and Post City after one such battle. The experiments continued through mid 1913, but when rain became plentiful the experiments were halted.

By 1910, other necessities could be attended to. Dr. A.R. Ponton first arrived in Post City in that year, and experimented in socialized medicine. Post was so pleased by the citizens response and by the doctor’s idea that he assisted by purchasing medical equipment.

POST SANITARIUM later to become the Garza County Historical Museum

The next step came when plans were made to erect a two story building to be used as a sanitarium. Plans for the building were begun in 1911 and construction began shortly after. It was a beautiful building with large pillars supporting a second story porch. It had a basement, an elevator and six bathrooms. The opened for business in 1913. It was billed as the best medical facility in the West. Dr. Ponton is said to have performed over a dozen operations almost immediately after the doors opened. A nurses training center was started, making it the only one West of St. Louis.

The hospital operated successfully until World War I, when all the young doctors were called to service. The Sanitarium closed its doors as a medical facility in 1918. Dr. Ponton moved to Lubbock where he opened another sanitarium that would later be called Methodist Medical Center. The Post City Sanitarium is now the Garza County Museum.

Post had strong feelings that a large deposit of oil lay buried beneath the soil of the South Plains. He hired a geologist from the East to come to Post City and ascertain if the oil existed. The geologist confirmed Post’s suspicions and preparations for oil well drilling began in 1910. A steam boiler was moved into Post City in an attempt to find the elusive black gold. All of this was done before the coming of the railroads.

After Post was notified of the defeat, and the expenditure of over $20,000, he put a halt to the project. Ironically, if he had drilled a few hundred feet further into the second hole he would have discovered one of the largest oil deposits in West Texas.

By this time the growth of the town had slowed its pace. Post felt that now what was needed was entertainment to ease tensions and bring unity to the city. Two Draw Lake was constructed two miles from town as a place for swimming and barbecues. It was billed as an oasis and attracted people from across the region. The lake soon became the site of an annual July 4th celebration.

As Post weaned the community of total reliance on him, he retreated to his Santa Barbara home. He was feeling once again in pain and totally exhausted from the constant stress of his incredible work load. In 1917 the town population was over 3,000, but sadly, C.W. Post never lived to see his dream completely fulfilled.

The first indication of the severity of Post’s ill health came when he canceled a speech he was prepared to deliver against President Woodrow Wilson in New York, condemning the new income tax law. The speech was given instead by Charles Dunn, a New York lawyer. His failure to deliver his speech waved a red flag to the press. Post’s fragile health was failing. Then in January, 1914, a Chicago newspaper ran headlines on page one saying, "C.W. Post has broken down from overwork and mental strain". From January to March, his health tittered from pain to depression and despair.

Finally, in March, newspapers across the country reported, "Michigan Millionaire Races With Death Across the West." A nonstop train ride in a private car had been arranged by the president of the Santa Fe Railroad, from California to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

His daughter, Marjorie, and his parents rushed to Rochester to be by his side. On March 10, he was operated on for acute appendicitis. The operation was a success, and he was released from the hospital and was allowed to return to California to recuperate. His recuperation went satisfactorily, until May 9, 1914.

The 59 years and 7 months of C.W. Post’s Earth tenure covered a period in American history which encompassed the maximum of startling events for a like period of time.

As a lad, Charlie Post stood on the streets of Springfield and watched the return of Civil War Veterans. He saw his father act as a member of the honor guard to bury the Great Emancipator. The golden spike, linking the first transcontinental railroad, was driven when Charlie was 14, and he was just five years of age when Drake drilled the first oil well in Pennsylvania. Edison’s phonograph and incandescent lamp were forerunners of singular significance. The Wizard of Menlo Park excited the populace again in 1893 with the Kinescope (the beginning of the moving picture). The Curies made announcement of their discovery of radium in 1898. The Wright brothers got their flying machine off the ground while Henry Ford was endeavoring to take the world off it’s feet. The tunnel under the East River in New York, 1908, was an engineering feat of great consequence. The first ship-to-shore wireless, the Panama Canal Act, Alexander Graham Bell’s inventions, discoveries of the North and South Poles, the dedications of the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument, were events well remembered by C.W.

He stood tall in the middle of a great era. Those were the days of "moving forward" in America, the age that founded the great fortunes which have established the economic possibilities for the new frontiers. Just one month after C.W. Post’s death an Archduke would be shot in a town whose name most American could not even pronounce, an incident that would involve America in a "War to end all Wars". A new phase would begin in America, change the mode of living, step-up the immense industrial potential and evolve a whole new pattern. A great era and a great man would end their cycles almost simultaneously.

C.W. Post left behind him many monuments in the hearts of men, and to the future he left a daughter carved in his own image who would carry on in benevolence and love of humanity. Marjorie Merriweather Post was 27 when she inherited a fortune and became the owner of a thriving business. Unlike many such beneficiaries, she was to increase and expand her inheritance and do much good with it.

Historical Date-lines from POST, TEXAS, The Gateway to the Plains

References: C.W. Post, The Hour & the Man by Nettie Leitch Major

C.W. Post, The Man - The Legend by Bill Galusha

Other references of interest: Post City, Texas by Chas Dudley Eaves & C.A. Hutchinson, is an excellent account of C.W. Post and the complete story of the colonization of Garza County

The Slaughter Ranch House U Lazy S owner, J.B. Slaughter built this stunning ranch house with beautiful landscaping, in 1907 by hauling the lumber by mule train from Colorado City. Mrs. Slaughter, "Belle", a creative homemaker and decorator was determined to bring class and style to the harsh frontier. She entertained lavishly, introducing the latest fashions and treated guests to imported culinary delights. She encouraged the founding of social clubs and functions in Post. The beautiful ranch home was destroyed by fire in 1935 and replaced by a smaller home where Belle continued to live until her death.


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