The 205 south of Jal is also known as Frying Pan Road. Who comes up with such names for desolate highways out in the middle of nowhere? I never knew Bennett existed and the only reason for my visit was to find a geocache. Lea County and I have a long past and I’ve spent far more time in that county both physically and in the pages of books than you may know. But I never knew of this place because, well, there’s nothing there but a geocache and some weeds, concrete, and pump jacks. Oh, and the smell of rotten eggs. Did I mention that this is southeastern New Mexico? This is Lea County, home of the single most important oil discovery in the history of the state of New Mexico. And Bennet is a ghost town.
I found some information on Bennett.
Vanished and Ghost Towns of Lea County, NMgenealogytrails.com › lea › history_vanishedtowns
According to the information in this geneological website, There was an oil boom during the 1930’s and the star player in the world of oil production was El Paso Natural Gas. Bennett (Bennettville) showed up on the map in the late 30’s to 1957. As with all towns, there must be a post office. The life of this post office started in 1940 and ended in 1957 due to falling population. Bennett’s post office opened in April of 1940 with Callie Marshall as postmaster. The post office was closed in March 1957 when the population dropped below 100 people, of those, the mail employer was still El Paso Natural Gas. More information found shows there were four post masters of the post office of this little oil town. There is is not much information found on this town so I’ll have to return to Jal or Eunice on my next trek to NM and explore the library, interview the oil people with histories. And there are a lot of them.