Impact, Texas, is a small town whose existence is based on alcohol prohibition. That’s because the region in which it is located was dry (under prohibition). But Impact was wet (legally sold alcoholic beverages).
The Origins of Impact, Texas
Here’s the story. In 1960, Abilene and all the surrounding region prohibited the sale of alcohol. The demand for such beverages was met by traveling long distances to cities or counties that were wet. And, perhaps more often, demand was met by bootleggers. These are people who sell alcohol in violation of dry laws.
Before 1960, advertising business owner Dallas Perkins operated a family poultry farm. It was on 20 acres of land north of Abilene. He bought 27 more adjoining acres. He then collected 29 signatures from surrounding neighbors. With these, Perkins incorporated the town in 1960. He named it after his advertising business. Thus, he was advertising his business.
Next, the 20 residents of Impact voted to legalize alcohol sales within its borders. Most were Perkins’ family and friends. The vote was 18 for and two against.
Lawyers for the city of Abilene took legal action to void the incorporation of Impact. But in 1963, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the incorporation. It also upheld the legality of alcohol sales within Impact.
Two store promptly opened to sell alcohol. In the first one month alone, alcohol sales were $463,000. That’s about $3,600,000 in today’s dollars.
The influx of revenue created instant prosperity. The streets were paved and lighted. Garbage pickup began. A peace officer was employed. In 1970, the population grew to 61. Impact was a wet oasis prospering in a dry desert.
The Fate of Impact, Texas
Then the bubble burst. In 1978, the city of Abilene narrowly voted to approve alcohol sales. The reason for Impact’s existence suddenly disappeared. The population dropped to 39 by 2000. By 2013, it was 35. The former city hall building is now used as a church. Former mayor Perkins moved away to a nursing home.
Today, Impact is a suburb of Abilene. It remains one of the smallest towns in Texas. At only 47 acres, it’s less than one-tenth (0.07) of a square mile in area.
Now you know the story of Impact, Texas.
Resources: Impact, Texas
- Bearce, S. Abilene. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.
- Lack, P. The History of Abilene. Abilene: McMurry Coll.
- Zachry, J. Abilene. Northridge, CA: Windsor.