Friday, May 15, 2009

Humble City . . .

. . . A Memory for Two

Near my home is a place all the older city folks remember as a once-booming place established by and inhabited by oilfield people who owned and worked for Humble Oil Company in the last century.


Oilfield is described as an area where oil wells have been drilled to produce oil which is refined into gasoline. The Hobbs and West Texas areas along the Hobbs border comprise one of the country's largest oil producing areas.

Most likely during World War II the then-bustling community of Humble City also housed a few families of airmen temporarily stationed at the Hobbs Army Air Base, spillover families who did not find room at Air Base City in the same area just north of Hobbs as it existed then.

Hobbs Army Air Base was the home of the B-17 bomber, the training base for most of the B-17 pilots and navigators, including the late actor Jimmy Stewart. The old base is now marked by a sculptured replica of a B-17 and its crew just off State Highway 18 en route south from Lovington into Hobbs.

A few of the service people who lived at Air Base City and Humble City, still live in Hobbs or did before their demise. The Humble City residents of oilfield days probably are scattered all over the country, as workers for that company often were transferred from one oil-producing well to another frequently.

Humble as a gasoline station name still exists in some areas of the country but in this particular area the name is nearly extinct, with the title only appearing as Humble Street, Humble Park and Humble City.

The heading of this blog does have a meaning to a pair of travelers who came to Hobbs nearly three years ago to visit with Lady B and me and actually to get married as well. Their visit here inspires the blog tonight and possibly will embarrass them somewhat but if so they'll take it in stride.

Their journey through the area was SWEET and funny in a way, SWEET because they were in love, and funny because of their mis-interpretation of travel directions into Hobbs.

Armed with precise directions, Hilly and Lone Duck were riding along in the dark watching for a roadside sign which says HUMBLE CITY. In the directions this was a landmark to be watching for and at which to begin following the precise directions to the home of Old Newsie and Lady B.

But to a New York gal from a big metropolis, "city" means city. Hilly and Lone Duck found the Humble City sign but they were confused, lost in darkness.

A plaintiff cell phone call came to us in Hobbs -"Grandfather, we can't find Humble City, we saw the sign but everything is dark and we don't see any lights, no city."

OLD NEWSIE - "Where are you, Hilly?"

HILLY: "We're parked at the side of the highway but it's dark and we don't see any city. We just passed the sign."

OLD NEWSIE: "OK Hilly, just go another couple miles until you see a big parking lot on your right in front of what looks like a stadium, turn in and wait there until I come for you."

About ten minutes later , we joined up and I told Hilly and Lone Duck "There is no Humble City anymore, just the sign."

I don't think they will forget that night. A few days later, they, Lady B and I traveled the road north into Lovington to find Judge Dianna Luce who officiated at their marriage.

En route we showed them Humble City, a frontage road with two houses, an oil derrick, and a couple abandoned houses and barns. They laughed.

By the way kids, when you come thataway again sometime, don't look for Air Base City - that ain't theie no more either!

- 30 -


  1. I'll bet the ghosts of Humble City were proudly waving at the kids when they drove by after the wedding. I hope you honked your horn in tribute!

  2. That was certainly a wonderfull trip Newsie (note I dont think your old) and we have such great memories of our visit I hope to be able to come back someday but I have to find a map of Humble city first it has to be there somewhere.

  3. We will never forget those days Old Newsie. They were the best of times. I hope I have gotten better with directions now. If not, I know all I have to do is make a phone call and you'll come get us! :)

    Love to you and Lady B