Dimmit, Texas mural
Dimmtt, Texas, mural
Higginbotham Bartlett mural in Dimmitt, Texas (panoramic photo by Barbara Brannon)
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.
Yellow Rose Inn
Watch highlights from Nazareth's charming Yellow Rose Inn as you plan your Castro County visit

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 TexasPlainsTrail.com 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 THC regional travel guide here (pdf). And we'll see you along the trail!  
Home Merc Gala, Nazareth
Home Merc Gala, Nazareth
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Castro County, Texas

Carson County 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
 
FARMING, FESTIVALS, AND FAITH   Established in 1891, the Castro County seat of Dimmitt was named for W.C. Dimmitt, a circuit-riding preacher who traveled the area in the late 1800's.
It's an area ideally suited for agriculture. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, "Castro County comprises 900.33 square miles of level plains. Its sandy loam and black soils once supported native grasses but now produce abundant corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, sugarbeets, and soybeans. Seasonally waterless draws or arroyos drain the county; Frio Draw runs southeasterly into Swisher County, and Running Water Draw, which begins about twenty-five miles northwest of Clovis, New Mexico, meanders southeasterly across Castro County into Lamb and then Hale counties. More than 500 playas dot the surface of the county." Those playas are the subject of study at the outdoor classroom and occasional Playa Festivals hosted by Nazareth-based Ogallala Commons.
Nazareth celebrates its strong German heritage through food, festivals, and music, and its roots in faith are evident in the central role played by the Holy Family Catholic Church and the community's bi-annual Christmas Pageant.
In downtown Dimmitt, a mural covering multiple sides of the large Higginbotham-Bartlett hardware and lumber supply building depicts the county's heritage from early days to now. These days, too, the Dimmitt Chamber of Commerce's motto is "Cattle, Commerce, Crops, & Cowboys" -- and that about covers it.

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  24 listings in Castro County.
Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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CASTRO COUNTY QUICK FACTS
Dimmitt BobcatsFounded  1876   County seat  Dimmitt  
Population  8,062
Communities   Dimmitt  Easter  Flagg  Hart   Nazareth  Hilburn   Summerfield   Sunnyside
Mascots  Dimmitt Bobcats & Bobbies; Hart Fighting Longhorns; Nazareth Swifts and Swiftettes



Ozark Trail marker, Dimmitt


DID YOU KNOW?
  A concrete obelisk served as a landmark for Dimmitt's position on the historic Ozark Trail.  (Congratulations to several readers who emailed us with this correct answer to last week's trivia quiz!)

Carlile Theater building, downtown Dimmitt
Carlile Theater building,
downtown Dimmitt
WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO
In Dimmitt, you'll find the marker for the Ozark Trail on the square of Castro County's historic courthouse, though in earlier days it stood in the middle of a highway route designed to bring tourists all the way to the Arkansas mountains!

You'll appreciate the rural flavor of this small town, surrounded by lush fields and imposing grain elevators. You might stop by for a meal at Sister's Steakhouse or drive by the Castro County Historical Museum, repository of local ranching artifacts (but currently closed while under renovation). The outdoor murals on the Higginbotham-Bartlett store's walls are themselves a museum of local history; take the time to walk all the way around and study them closely, for their thorough and sometimes clever depictions.

Holy Family Catholic Church, Nazareth
Holy Family Catholic Church, Nazareth
Westward from the county seat on TX Highway 86, you'll come to the German farming community of Nazareth. The farm supply store, the Naz Stop, schools, inviting park, and the sanctuary, convent, grounds, and cemetery of the Holy Family Catholic Church constitute the heart of this hamlet, whose population swells during its annual German Fest in July and its bi-annual Christmas Pageant (read more about it here, in Texas Co-op Power's 2012 story). If you're in the area in January, you might also be fortunate to snag a ticket to the community's annual gala at the Home Merc, a grocery store converted to performing arts venue, community center, and art gallery. Other events are held throughout the year. And the Yellow Rose Inn welcomes guests to enjoy their German hospitality while staying within walking distance of Nazareth sites and sights.
Holy Family Catholic Church, Nazareth
Holy Family Catholic Church, Nazareth

Nazareth is also home to Ogallala Commons, a multi-state organization that seeks to understand and preserve community resources via a holistic approach to socioeconomic development. 

Turning due south from Nazareth on FM 168, you'll see the Ogallala Commons Playa Classroom on the right -- the first playa education center in the world. As your anxiety level slips away in this laid-back landscape, continue south and breathe in the fresh air (or maybe spring dust, as in this amazing video by Dutch storm chaser Bernard Hulshof) and appreciate the small-town ambience of Hart, along the ancient Running Water Draw.

Labyrinth, Nazareth
Seekers of all faiths welcome the dawn on the summer solstice, Nazareth

Keep up with news from Nazareth via the SwiftKicks newsletter, from Dimmitt via the Castro County News, and from Hart via the Pulse News.

PLAN AHEAD 

Watch local news for dates of the December 2015 Christmas Pageant in Nazareth.

And if you're a quilter, you'll love the annual festival of the Ogallala Quilters Society, typically held in April.
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A WINNING HAND FOR YOUR TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL ADVENTURE

  Castro County Ace of Hearts
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. $5.95 per deck (plus tax & shipping), 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!

AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 2015
Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or info@TexasPlainsTrail.com for bulk sales and shipping.




'52 DeSOTO PHOTO FUN
Flat 52 Car Cutout As you travel the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region, take our Plains Trail kids and dog along with you -- in our #C52NTX 1952 DeSoto Ragtop (pdf). Download and print the graphic on heavy paper on your own color printer. Cut along the dashed line. Then glue a stir stick or popsicle stick to the back -- and feature it in your photos of destinations all around the region. Along the way, share your pix to www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME  Some famous Texans born in 1952:

Musician George Strait

Actor Patrick Swayze

Actress Annette O'Toole

 (Wikipedia)

FOLLOW US ON THE TRAIL . . . AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Castro County license tag
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 www.DriveTexas.org. And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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WHERE IN THE REGION? COMING UP FEBRUARY 11
Texas Time Travel posters
It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to share.

To win a full set of these attractive 24 x 30 Texas Heritage Trails posters, suitable for framing, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.


Next week's county seat lies along a route sometimes called the "Last American Highway," which stretches from the Mexican to the Canadian borders in the U.S. Name the county seat -- and you also have the name of its county.

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PARTNER AND DESTINATION REMINDER
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.

Did you know you can add your own events to the TexasTimeTravel.com website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

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.

DID YOU MISS AN ISSUE?
Every week's issue is archived on our website. Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

Copyright 2015 Texas Plains Trail Region. All Rights Reserved.