MuseumsHistorical TheatersParks & TrailsScenic DrivesToursEquestrian
Parks & Trails

 

Donley CourthouseClarendon

Self-tour

Clarendon, Donley County, is home to several historic sites, including the beautifully restored Donley County Courthouse, Saints Roost Museum, many churches which were the first in the Panhandle for their denomination, and historic homes such as the S.W. Lowe home.

back to top

 

 

XIT RodeoDalhart Texas Monuments

Dalhart’s Empty Saddle Monument is located north of the Highway 87 underpass. This monument was unveiled at the 5th annual XIT Rodeo and Reunion on August 5, 1940, “in memory of the departed riders of our plains,” and celebrates the cowhands of the famed XIT Ranch. The monument was designed by local artist Bobby Dycke.

 

The Sesquicentennial Monument outside the Dallam County Courthouse was established in 1986 to celebrate both Texas’ sesquicentennial and the 50th anniversary of the XIT Rodeo and Reunion.

 

The James R. Fox Memorial was donated by the Peoples’ Republic of China. The monument is in remembrance of James R. Fox, who flew rescue missions during World War II for the Hump Pilots Association. The monument was erected in 2003 outside the Dallam County Courthouse.

back to top

 

LaRita Performing Arts TheatreLaRita Performing Arts Theatre

The LaRita Performing Arts Theatre, (806) 244-6222, is located at 311 Denrock Avenue. This gem has been fully restored to its 1930s grandeur. Productions include community theater, performing arts events, poet gatherings, and offers a venue for singers and performers. The structure was built as a movie theater and was remodeled in 1942. In 1989 a group of active citizens, Dalhart Community Theater, took possession of the theater and restored it to the grand facility that it is now. In addition, a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system was added. Performers now rave about the acoustic quality of this venue. The theater can seat 224 in its restored 1940s love seats, and box and balcony seating. Tours of the facility are available by appointment. Tickets to events can be purchased at the Dalhart Chamber, (806) 244-5646. This unbelievable facility is a must-see and has been featured in national media, including CBS This Morning; and in many other regional media outlets. For more information, visit www.larita.org.
back to top

 

TuliaTulia

Self-Tour of the Ozark Trail

In 1920 the Ozark Trail, a highway network from Arkansas and Missouri through Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, to New Mexico, came to the plains of Texas. Collingsworth, Childress, Hall, Briscoe, Swisher, Castro, and Parmer counties, along with Curry and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico, cooperated in raising $10,000 in 1920 to erect markers along already existing roads to mark the Ozark Trail from Oklahoma across Texas to New Mexico.

back to top

 

 

Turkey Texas WelcomeTurkey

Self-tours

Turkey, Texas was originally called Turkey Roost because of the wild turkey roosts along Turkey Creek, but the name was shortened with the establishment of the Post Office in 1893. Officially incorporated in 1926, Turkey is best known as the Home of Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing. Raised “down between the rivers” outside the town.

 

Visit Hotel Turkey which was built in 1927 to provide lodging for railroad travelers and salesmen. It has continued in operation since that time. It now operates as a Bed and Breakfast with 14 lavishly furnished rooms.

 

While in Turkey, visit the Bob Wills’ Museum and the Turkey Roost Museum, then shop downtown Turkey at the two antique and collectible stores and the dry goods store as well as enjoy a meal at one of the two restaurants. In the late fall through winter you can buy Sweet Potatoes in Turkey.

 

Goodnight

The Caprock Canyons State Park is located about 15 miles west of Turkey and is now home to the descendants of the original free-roaming bison herd belonging to Col. Charles Goodnight.

 

Visit the Tampico Historical Monument off the Estelline Highway 9 miles north of Turkey. Hike or ride the Rails & Trails in Turkey (contact Caprock Park trail information).

 

Turkey, Texas is located in the southwest corner of Hall County, just below the edge of the Llano Estacado. Highway 70 and Highway 86 pass through Turkey, and it is located just 30 miles off Highway 287. Turkey is just 100 miles southeast of Amarillo, 100 miles northeast of Lubbock, and about 250 miles northwest of Dallas. Population is 492.


back to top

Old Route 66 Self tour of the Mother Road: (West to East)

Visit Us Adrian: Old Route 66

Adrian drew its first official breath in the summer of 1909 when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway completed its line through this section of Oldham County.

 

The first area settler predated this development by some time. He was former Texas Ranger Calvin Grant Aten, and he’d survived a Christmas Day 1889 battle with cattle rustlers on Bull Head Mountain to hang up his guns and move his family to a dugout west of Adrian’s current site.

 

Adrian was named for farmer Adrian Cullen. The town grew in fits and starts, courtesy of promotion by the Iowa-based American-Canadian Land and Townsite Company on the one hand, and local water supply problems on the other. The Giles Hotel—which later took turns as the Adrian Mercantile and the Adrian Community Center—stands in tribute to the town’s early, burly days.

 

Adrian today celebrates its position as the “Geo-mathematical Center of Route 66.” From here, the old highway ran 1139 miles west to Los Angeles, and 1139 miles east to Chicago. Motorists wanting to “commemorate the middle” are encouraged to visit the Midpoint Cafe, the oldest continuously-operated cafe on Texas Route 66. The Midpoint was born in 1928 as a one-room, dirt-floor eatery called Zella’s. Current owner Fran Houser feeds folks today. Don’t miss the famous “ugly crust” pies!
back to top

 

Vega MotelVega: Old Route 66

In October of 1899, homesteader N.J. Whitfield purchased Section 90 in Oldham County at one dollar per acre. He sold a 100-foot strip right of way to the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Texas Railroad in 1903 and bartered land to four other settlers. The town of Vega was born.

 

Vega means “plain” or “meadow” in Spanish. Early citizens, however, had more than fields on their minds. In 1915 they voted to make Vega the Oldham County seat.

 

Throughout the years, Vega would suffer its growing pains. In May of 1931, a fire burned six buildings just west of the town square. Two months later, a conflagration destroyed more downtown businesses. But Vega bounced back, mixing new structure with old. This good-natured tenacity has kept Vega a Route 66 favorite.

 

Modern motorists slipping into Vega will find the town’s friendly toughness hard to resist. The Magnolia Station was the second service station built in Vega during the 1920s. The Vega Motel is without question the most pristinely-kept old-road motor court in Texas, and Roark Hardware is the oldest operating hardware store on Route 66, period. Get out your cameras. And smile!
back to top

 

Visit UsMcLean: Old Route 66

McLean was established around 1900 as a cattle-loading area on the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway. The townsite was donated by Alfred Rowe, a man born to British subjects, who immigrated to America from Peru in 1878. Alfred absorbed more than 200,000 acres of Texas grassland into his sprawling R O Ranch. He died when he booked a trip on the Titanic. Legend says rescuers found him hugging his briefcase—frozen to death atop an ice floe—with gold watch still ticking.

 

McLean was named McLean for Judge William Pinckley McLean, a member of the first state Railroad Commission. During the Golden Age of Route 66, McLean boasted 16 service stations and six motels. In September of 1942, an area northeast of McLean was chosen to serve as the McLean Permanent Alien Internment Camp. During its operation, the camp boasted twenty to thirty buildings and housed 3,000 prisoners-of-war. Today, a plaque placed by the Texas Historical Commission marks the site.

 

McLean was the last Texas Route 66 town bypassed by Interstate 40. As such, it remains a gentle time capsule filled with the flavor of days gone by. Historians traveling from armchairs will want to read The McLean POW Camp and The R O Brand: The Story of Alfred Rowe, the Founder of McLean, Texas, and the R O Ranch. Both books were written by local scholar and preservationist Delbert Trew.

back to top

 

U-Drop InnShamrock: Old Route 66

In 1890, Irish settler George Nickel asked that his dugout in northeastern Texas be designated as a postal station. He proposed the name “Shamrock” in honor of his Irish roots. Although Nickel’s home burned later that year, the Chicago, Gulf and Rock Island Railway kept the name when it arrived in the summer of 1902.

 

In 1938, Glen Truax, the town bandmaster, started a Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Every year on the Saturday closest to March 17, Shamrock men dye their beards green. Citizens must wear green or risk being thrown in the local “jail.”

 

In 1959, Shamrock acquired a piece of the Blarney Stone. You will find it displayed prominently in the town’s city park.

 

Shamrock’s most famous Route 66 landmark is the Tower Station and Cafe, home to the late U-Drop-Inn. This art deco masterpiece opened for business on April 1, 1936. Local John Nunn used a nail to draw original plans for the building in the dirt at the driveway of the nearby Cross Roads Motor Court.

 

In 1995, the U-Drop-Inn closed. In 1999, the First National Bank purchased the property and gifted it to the city of Shamrock. Today, the Tower Station and Cafe are being restored as a museum and visitors center.

back to top

 

Visit UsWheeler Tours

“In Times Past” is a 6-hour tour to visit a one room school, “Rock School,” on the Britt Ranch; a rock barn on the Stiles Ranch; a rock house on the Puryear Ranch; Hidetown, an early buffalo hunting camp; Fort Elliott; Old Mobeetie, Texas; Mobeetie Jail Museum; New Mobeetie; Finsterwald Ranch; Price’s Battlefield; Buffalo Wallow; then returning to Wheeler. Lunch is included with the $30.00 price.

The “Military Tour” is a 4-hour tour that includes Hidetown, Mobeetie Cemetery, Old Mobeetie, Fort Elliott, Mobeetie Jail Museum, Price’s Battlefield, and Buffalo Wallow. Lunch is included with the $25.00 price.

 

The “Historical Structures” is a 4-hour tour that includes Frye Rock House, Rock School, Rock Cemetery, Hidetown, Mobeetie Cemetery, Old Mobeetie, Fort Elliott Site, Mobeetie Jail Museum, Finsterwald Ranch, Wheeler County Courthouse, and the 1916 Wheeler County Jail. The price of this tour is $25.00.

 

“Surviving in the Panhandle” is a 2-3 hour tour that includes Rock School, Hidetown, Mobeetie Cemetery, Fort Elliott, Mobeetie Jail Museum, New Mobeetie History, Finsterwald Ranch, and the town of Wheeler. The price of the tour is $20.00.

 

Toll Free: (888) 826-3790 • Phone: (806) 826-3790

back to top