Paducah, Texas building facade
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 Plains Trail Reigon board member Rita Isbell of Paducah
Texas Plains Trail Region board member Rita Isbell of Paducah welcomes visitors to hsitoric Cottle County
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.

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 THC regional travel guide here (pdf).
And we'll see you along the trail!  
Paducah's 1896 Gober-Barron-Williford House
Paducah's 1896 Gober-Barron-Williford House
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Cottle County, Texas

Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
One day in 1948 a visitor from the East showed up at a cattle auction in Amarillo looking for a "real cowboy"--thought to be a dying breed even back then--and employee and Cottle County native Paul Long directed him to his brother C. H., a cowpuncher and acting manager out on the JA Ranch. The inquirer, who turned out to be a writer for Life magazine, portrayed C.H. in a photo spread in an edition a few months later, with his rugged mug appearing on the cover. That iconic portrait captured the attention of cigarette maker Philip Morris & Co. in their quest for a face to advertise their Marlboro brand. They'd found their Marlboro Man. Read more about Long in a 2007 newspaper article or visit Paducah's City County Heritage Museum for a wealth of local detail.

Cottle County's original Marlboro Man, Clarence Hailey Long
Cottle County's original Marlboro Man, Clarence Hailey Long

Cottle County, situated on the rolling prairieland of Northwest Texas below the High Plains, was once home to the Apaches, then later the Comanches of the Wanderers-Who-Make-Bad-Camps band, then herds of grazing cattle and a few ranchers and farmers. It wasn't organized as a county until 1892, when a killing on the county line a few years earlier persuaded the area's few citizens to act if they wanted to hold a trial on their soil.

Once the settlers established their county and named Paducah its seat, however, they got right to the business of law, justice. and education, with school districts set aside, a jail funded the following year, and a newspaper founded, the Paducah Post, which still serves readers online today. Large, successful ranching outfits such as the JA, the SMS, and the Matador; the expansion of cotton farming; and the Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railroad swelled the county's population to more than 9,000 until the Dust Bowl droughts hit.

Today these stories, and more, are told vividly in Paducah's City County Heritage Museum. The area's ranching roots remains strong, with a robust cattle industry and an annual rodeo. And that rock-solid 1983 jail? It now serves as Paducah's visitor center, where you'll find a captivating welcome. (Information from tshaonline and Wikipedia)

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 26 listings in Cottle County. 
Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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Founded  1892   County seat  Paducah
Population  1,505
Communities   Cee Vee   Chalk   Dunlap   Hackberry   Narcisso   Ogden   Paducah
Mascot  Paducah Dragons

Paducah custom chaps in museum DID YOU KNOW?  Paducah, Texas, named for a nineteenth-century speculator from Kentucky who offered settlers free land in return for their votes to give their Texas city the same name, is often called the "Crossroads of America" due to its location at the intersection of US highways 83 and 70, both border-to-border transcontinental routes.

Cottle County Courthouse, Paducah
Cottle County Courthouse, Paducah
You can get to Paducah, Texas, by traveling  west from North Carolina's Outer Banks on US 70, east from Globe, Arizona, on the same highway; south from the Canadian border in North Dakota on US 83, or due north from Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican border.

But you don't have to travel that far. Paducah's history is easily accessible from Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita Falls, or Oklahoma City. When you arrive at Paducah's busy crossroads, drive a couple blocks east to the Visitor Information Center and Old Jail. (Give them a call if the building's not open during regular daytime hours.) You'll find brochures on nearby things to do and see-and maybe hear a story or two from a knowledgeable local.) Cruise the downtown streets, stopping in at Yesteryear's or getting a bite at the Dixie Maid Drive-In.

Paducah Visitor Information Center and Old Jail
Paducah Visitor Information Center and Old Jail
Paducah Visitor Information Center and Old Jail

Yesteryear's, Paducah
Paducah City County Heritage Museum
Save plenty of time to browse the fascinating exhibits at the City County Heritage Museum, housed in the historic Quanah, Acme & Pacific Railroad depot a few blocks north of town.

Keep up with news of the region via the Paducah Post online. Read more here about the value of historic newspapers like the Post, and their wealth of knowledge kept alive through digital
repositories like the Portal to Texas History.
Paducah City County Heritage Museum
Paducah City County Heritage Museum

Stay overnight in a historic building west of the square, at the Hunters Lodge -- which, despite its name, doesn't cater solely to hunters.


It's almost rodeo time in Cottle County -- each April the Old Settlers' Reunion and Rodeo is held in Paducah in collaboration with King County. The 2015 event is slated for April 17-18, with lots of fun activities for all ages.

Paducah also invites visitors to its Memorial Day observance in May and a Pioneer Day in the fall.
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  Cottle County TX card
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!

Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or for bulk sales and shipping.

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
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME

 "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" was a popular song during Cottle County's most populous and prosperous era. Art Landry recorded the song composed by Ray Henderson, Art Lewis, and Joe Youngin 1925. 


Cottle County, Texas
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!
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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 location is known as the home of the original Marlboro Man -- the cowboy who modeled for the famous ad campaign. Name the county and its seat (where you'll find a museum exhibit dedicated to him) to win a set of posters!

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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 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.

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.