The Impetus for Change
While the 1950s are often regarded as an era of prosperity, the conditions in and around Bangs, Texas were dismal indeed. Experiencing what is today considered "the drought of record", the years between 1950 and 1956 saw annual rainfall drop as low as twelve inches, less than half of the average. Most of the Southwest and Midwest United States suffered from the dry conditions, and while Texans were accustomed to an arid climate, the western and northern parts of the state were hit particularly hard. Before the drought had subsided all but ten Texas counties were declared disaster areas. The spectacular dust storms during this period surpassed even those that ravaged the area during the Great Depression, and soon became the stuff of legend. The dust could be seen, felt and tasted, indoors or out. Most creeks and rivers were dry. As the Brown County economy relied heavily upon agriculture, area farmers and ranchers were facing a serious financial crisis.
Some area farmers tried to hold on, hoping to endure through a period that was anything but conducive to agriculture production. But many more abandoned the lifestyle that had been the backbone of their existence, moving to towns and cities to find work. Brownwood, the largest town in Brown County, saw a considerable amount of this migration. But just nine miles away from Brownwood a few forward-thinking businessmen met to find a solution, one that would keep Bangs a viable community. Having considered several options they ultimately agreed on a plan, a business model that was almost inconceivably ambitious. They could have an impact on the economy of their town.