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Carson County Historical Markers

33rd Anniversary National Convention

Marker Location: From Panhandle, take Highway 60 east about 4.5 miles to Thomas Cree's tree site (on roadside).

Year Marker Erected: 1967

Marker Text: The 33rd Anniversary National Convention, Men's Garden Clubs of America, meeting at Amarillo, June 14-17, 1965, formally recognized and paid tribute to the significance of Thomas Cree's little tree and to the memory of this heroic early gardener of these High Plains.

6666 Dixon Creek Ranch

Marker Location: From Panhandle, take SH 207 about 14 miles, north to roadside marker.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Takes name from creek where noted buffalo hunter and scout Billy Dixon established first dugout home on High Plains, 1874. Ranch founded, 1882, by Francklyn Land and Cattle Co., English firm backed by Cunard Steamship Co. Fenced, 1884, with barbed wire hauled here from railroad at Dodge City; posts were of Palo Duro Canyon cedars. Purchased in 1903 by S. Burk Burnett (1849-1922), trail driver, rancher; an organizer and for 45 years on executive board, Texas Cattle Raisers Association. Host during 1905 wolf hunt to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. (Ranch not open to public.)

Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad Depot

Marker Location: 200 South Main Street, in front of city hall, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1988

Marker Text: The 1920s oil boom brought increased business to this railroad town,and a new depot was built here in 1928. The structure exhibits elements of the Prairie School, Mission, and Tudor styles of architecture. Prominent features include bracketed overhangs, stepped parapets, and cast stone window surrounds. One of the last brick depots built on the company's western lines, it was last used for passenger service in 1971. It became City Hall in 1985.

Callaghan Memorial Library, Panhandle

Marker Location: Fourth and Main Streets, on library grounds, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1970

Marker Text: Named in honor of renowned pioneer family of Asbery A. Callaghan. Erected 1970 through bequest of local businessman H.J. "Friday" Hughes (1901-1968), son-in-law of Asbery Callaghan. In 1890 A.A. Callaghan came to Texas with his parents, the J.R. Callaghans. After his father's death, he took over the family general store and was elected to almost every public office in city. Served as deputy sheriff, county treasurer, county judge, school board member, director of First National Bank, and steward in Methodist Church. Won respect throughout region.

Carson County, Panhandle

Marker Location: Main and Fifth Streets, on courthouse grounds, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Created 1876. Organized 1888. Named for Samuel Price Carson, Secretary of State, Republic of Texas. A pioneer county in oil and gas development. Panhandle, county seat, promised main lines of 3 railroads, was by-passed for Amarillo, yet became one of the 4 historic towns in Texas Panhandle.

Carson County, Panhandle

Marker Location: 4th and Main Streets, on library grounds, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1936

Marker Text: Formed from Young and Bexar Territories; created August 21, 1876, organized June 29, 1888. Named in honor of Samuel P. Carson 1798-1840, Statesman of the United States and the Republic of Texas. Wheat, oil and gas contribute to its wealth. Panhandle, county seat.

Carson County Square House Museum, Panhandle

Address: 5th and Elsie Sts.

Narrative: The Square House, built in Panhandle in 1887-1888 is an attractive frame residence which has become a landmark of Northwest Texas. The house is a symmetrical building with a veranda across the main facade. A central doorway and a pair of windows on each side of the door open onto the porch.

The house has four rooms and the first floor with an upstairs room within the deck-on-hip roof. The upper chamber was reached by a narrow ladder-like stairs. The upper room is lit by a small dormer window with a clipped-gable roof. The flat deck-portion of the roof has a surrounding balustrade. The "widow's walk" however, is purely ornamental.

The structure is sheathed with clapboarding and has very restrained architectural detailing, including a simple box cornice surrounding the square structure.

The Square House Museum, although a modest building in size and architectural detail, is and important example of domestic architecture for Northwest Texas in that it represents one of the earliest frame residences (1887-1888) constructed during the period of settlement on the Staked Plains. At the time this residence was constructed (the lumber was brought from Kansas City) to house an official of the Southern Kansas Railroad. A majority of the Panhandle settlers were housed in dugouts. Consequently, this building, among the oldest extant structures in the Texas Panhandle, represents a significant milestone in the history and development of Northwest Texas.

The Square House was built as the residence of an official with the Southern Kansas Railway when terminal track was laid from Kiowa, Kansas, to Panhandle, Texas. This, the oldest house in Panhandle, was the home of several notable Panhandle pioneer families, including Judge James Christopher Paul, Judge J. L. Harrison, James B. Wills, and Sheriff Oscar L. Thorp.

Judge James Christopher Paul and his family occupied the Square House in the early 1890s. Pious and several business partners opened the Panhandle Bank in 1888. This was the oldest bank in Northwest Texas, and from 1888 until it voluntarily closed in 1942, was highly instrumental in the economic development of the Panhandle area. Judge J. L. Harrison and his family moved to the Square House in 1896, and lived there for several decades. Harrison was a prominent cattleman in the Panhandle area, and later, around 1900, was elected county judge.

Oscar L. Thorp bought the Square House in 1920. Thorp, originally a rancher, was elected sheriff in 1922, and served in that office for eight years during the oil boom days a chaotic period for law enforcement.

The Square House was occupied as a private residence until 1965, when, in order to save it from destruction, the building was moved to its present site. The restored building is operated as a regional museum, and has been accredited.

Carson County Square House Museum, Panhandle

Mailing Address: P O Box 276
City: Panhandle
Zip code: 79068 0276
Street Address: Hwy 207 and 5th Street
Area Code: 806
Phone: 537-3524

Types of Exhibits/Collections: Art, Military, Aviation, Natural History, Archeology, Interactive, Photos, Historical, Local/Pioneer History, Archives

Educational Programs: Guided Tours, Self-guided tours, Traveling Trunks, Films, Museum Classes, School Tours, Lectures, Demonstrations

Conway Community Church, Conway

Marker Location: 405 Elsie Street, Panhandle

Year Marker Erected: 1966

Marker Text: Union church built 1912 by popular subscription. Only country church in this area in continuous use for more than 50 years. Serves great-grandchildren of the pioneers who contributed funds for its erection. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Conway Community Church, Panhandle

Marker Location: 405 Elsie, SH 207, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1993

Marker Text: Residents of Conway, established 9 miles south of here in 1905, attended non-denominational services in a relocated schoolhouse until this union church building was completed in 1912. It became an important gathering place for the Conway Community and housed regular worship services until 1968. Membership in the congregation dwindled and the building fell into disrepair. Former church members and area volunteers devoted thousands of hours to restore this structure to its historic condition and relocate it here to the Square House Museum Complex in 1991.

Dr. Charles L. Fields (1858-1941), Groom

Marker Location: On Groom Community Center, corner of Broadway and First, Groom.

Year Marker Erected: 1966

Marker Text: Prominent pioneer dentist and farmer. As a boy, cut wood to support mother widowed in Civil War. Worked as carpenter for money to attend dental school in Chicago. Licensed 1890. Came to Canadian in 1903; Groom, 1916. Traveled at times to ranch headquarters and to Ochiltree and Mobeetie, to patients unable to go to him. Often had to ford rivers, hauling his collapsible dental chair and foot-powered drill. Used iodine and laudanum as antiseptics and pain-killers. Operated his own denture lab. Met large demand for gold teeth. Often was paid in beef, produce.

and the Founding of Panhandle City, Panhandle

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, in Square House Museum Compound, Panhandle

Year Marker Erected: 1968

Marker Text: Cattle firm that had brought first Herefords to region--Lue Finch, W.H. Lord, O.H. Nelson--in 1887 promoted Panhandle City, as railroad line approached. They sent in ten cowboys to stake claims around city, which prospered as county seat. The Finch-Lord-Nelson firm (which included John A. Finch after 1887) left descendants to continue pioneering. Of their 1887 employees, J.E. Southwood and W.D. Jolly also remained. This little red barn is a replica symbolic of frontier structures built by Finch-Lord-Nelson for the 1887 claimsmen.

First Presbyterian Church

Marker Location: 412 Doucette St., White Deer

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: First church building in White Deer. Dedicated July 4, 1909. Financed mainly through gifts from pioneer members' home churches; and donations by other denominations. Also used by Methodists and Baptists for 11 years, with circuit pastors for the three congregations rotating their Sunday visits. A Union Sunday School and Missionary Society were organized. All offerings were equally shared among the three churches.

First Presbyterian Church Building

Marker Location: 412 Doucette, White Deer

Year Marker Erected: 1979

Marker Text: The First Presbyterian Church building served as a worship center from 1909 to 1969. The structure was moved from this site in 1978.

First Rotary Drilling Rig
Used in Texas Panhandle

Marker Location: From Panhandle, take SH 207 about 18.8 miles north to roadside marker.

Year Marker Erected: 1993

Marker Text: In October 1923, W.T. Willis, J.E. Trigg, and H.D. Lewis, partners in one of Texas' largest drilling firms, broke ground at the S.B. Burnett 6666 Ranch with the first rotary drilling rig used in the Texas Panhandle. Success of this drilling method was a major event in this region. Drilling equipment included a $25,000 rotary rig; a 6-inch diameter drill pipe; a derrick; 3 steam boilers; 2 mud pumps; and other tools. Rotary rigs began to replace cable tool rigs on the Texas Gulf Coast about 1900, but the lack of a rotary drill bit capable of piercing rock delayed its use here.

First Tree

Marker Location: From Panhandle, take Hwy. 60 about 4.5 miles southwest (on Hwy. 60 R.O.W.).

Year Marker Erected: 1963

Marker Text: First tree on the Texas High Plains, set in front of dugout home by Thomas Cree, 1888. Good luck symbols of settlers throughout drouth, blizzard and heat. Cree's Bois d'Arc tree died in the 1970s. County residents planted a new tree here in 1990 as a memorial to the area's early pioneers.

Groom, Groom

Marker Location: 203 Broadway, on City Hall grounds, Groom.

Year Marker Erected: 1968

Marker Text: Founded 1902 by W.S. Wilkerson, local landowner, when Rock Island Railroad built west; named for Col. B.B. Groom, 1880's agent of Franklyn Land & Cattle Co. Col. Groom was first to try power farming on Plains. Town is today hub of rich farming and ranching area.

Gulf Burnett No. 2
(Carson County Oil Discovery Well)

Marker Location: From Panhandle, take SH 207 about 18.8 mi. north to roadside marker

Year Marker Erected: 1993

Marker Text: The Panhandle's first oil well, Gulf Burnett No. 2, was struck by the Gulf Production Company on May 2, 1921, on the 6666 Ranch of S.B. Burnett. The prediction of oil in this area by U.S. Geologists in 1904 and the discovery of natural gas nearby in 1918 induced Amarillo businessmen to finance Burnett No. 2. Though the first oil was of poor quality, major oil discoveries in the nearby Borger and South Pampa fields in 1926 spurred a regional oil boom and established the Panhandle as one of Texas' richest petroleum areas. Carson County has produced 150 million barrels of oil since 1921.

Hotel at White Deer, White Deer

Marker Location: 400 Main Street, White Deer

Year Marker Erected: 1994

Marker Text: The White Deer Land Company, a trustee for court-ordered land sales in this area, established the White Deer Demonstration Farm in the 1890s. About 1909 this frame four square structure was built to board prospective land buyers. Marvin Hughes bought the building in 1913 and it became a hotel. Subsequent owners included the Goodner Family in 1929, and E.L. Colgrove in 1944. The structure has served as a boardinghouse, apartments, and a private residence.

Jackson General Store, White Deer

Marker Location: Main Street and Hwy. 60 intersection, White Deer.

Year Marker Erected: 1986

Marker Text: This commercial structure was built at the original townsite of White Deer (0.5 mi. E). It was moved here in 1908, when the present townsite was established. It housed the general merchandise business of J.C. Jackson (d. 1966), a prominent leader in the development of White Deer. In his career as a public servant, Jackson was Mayor, Postmaster, County Judge (1935-41), and Precinct Commissioner (1947-66). In addition, he and his wife Dolly (d. 1957) were founders of the First Presbyterian Church. The Jacksons maintained their home in the general store building for many years.

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