COMING UP SOON: Gem Theatre, Claude
The Gem Theatre in historic Claude turns 100 years old! Plan now to attend their big anniversary show Sat., Feb. 7, 2015, 7:30 pm, featuring western swing music by Coby Carter & 5 Miles West. Call 806-226-2187 for tickets.
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour
THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas--places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.
Goodnight Center Video
The first week of January, 2015, we kick off our Fifty-Two-Step Tour at the Charles Goodnight House. Visit with us on YouTube!

We invite you to join us throughout 2015 for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour--every Wednesday online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each week, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our regional travel guide here (pdf). And we'll see you along the trail!  
Musicians at Goodnight House
Musicians at Charles Goodnight House, Molly Goodnight Day, Sept. 2014
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Armstrong County
Texas map
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
A PLAINS LEGACY   Before the railroad community of Claude installed modern plumbing for its residents, citizens were required to haul water from the public trough, located on the courthouse square beneath the shade of a cottonwood tree. At the time Claude won the Armstrong County seat courtesy of an election held in 1890, the outcome of which, according to folklore, was determined by a tie-breaking vote cast by none other than Charles Goodnight. In the 1960s the city served as the film location for Hud, based on Larry McMurtry's 1961 novel Horseman, Pass By and starring Paul Newman. Learn more about Claude's ranching and movie history at the Armstrong County Museum and Gem Theatre next door--and Goodnight's story at the home he built southeast of town. 

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historical Sites Atlas  guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including 43 listings in Armstrong County.
Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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Founded  1876   County seat  Claude   Population  1,901
Communities   Claude * Goodnight * Washburn * Wayside
In 2013, the Texas legislature passed resolutions designating March 5 of each year as Charles Goodnight Day, and September 12 as Molly Goodnight Day.

Charles Goodnight House WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO    Start your Armstrong County visit at the Charles Goodnight Historical Center on US287 between Claude and Clarendon. The magnificent two-story house rises from the plain on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon, and a newly established visitor center on the site provides historical background.

Be sure to stop by Buffalo Gold Premium Fibers next door, an emporium of bison-fiber clothing, art, and handmade items, including a wide selection of hats from Bollman, oldest continuously operating maker of felt and fur hats in the US.
Molly Goodnight Statue
Mary Ann Goodnight was instrumental in saving the bison from extinction.

Then spend some time on Claude's main commercial street, digging deeper in the region's rich ranching, cultural, and railroading history at the Armstrong County Museum and Gem Theatre.

Turning south on TX207 from the center of Claude will take you on a dramatic scenic drive across the eastern reaches of Palo Duro Canyon, where Goodnight once ran cattle, Quanah Parker and the Quahadi Comanches hunted bison, and settler Will Hamblen carved the first road to connect citizens in Wayside to their county seat.

PLAN AHEAD  The Texas Plains Trail Board will meet at the Goodnight Historical Center Wed., Apr. 15, at 10 am, with lunch and tours of the house and Buffalo Gold afterwards. Our meetings are always educational, and always open to the public. The only cost is for lunch ($10 per person). RSVP by April 10.
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  Ace of Hearts Armstrong
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip. Pre-order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $6 per deck, in custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

TX Highway 52 TRIVIA TIME   Texas State Highway 52 was designated in 1926 from Hedley through Wellington to the Oklahoma border as a renumbering of a section of TX 13. The section west of Wellington was renumbered again as TX 203 in 1936, and this numbering replaced the rest of TX 52 in 1945. (Wikipedia; TxDOT)
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Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit And please with your Texas traveling friends!
 Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter     View our videos on YouTube 


Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.  Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Be watching for an announcement about our May 2, 2015 (5/2, get it?) tourism event to kick off National Travel & Tourism Week, focusing on the value of tourism to our nation, state, and region.
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