Dallam County's 1923 courthouse
Dallam County's 1923 courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 
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
XIT Ranchlands Map
The XIT Ranch once covered all or most of ten Panhandle counties.
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 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!  
Dalhart's annual summer block party celebrates history and provides fun for all aages.
Dalhart's annual summer block party celebrates history and provides fun for all ages.
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Dallam County, Texas

Dallam County, Texas 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
Dallam County was still sparsely settled grassland, recently domain of the Comanches and Kiowas and watered by year-round streams that attracted bison, antelope and other wildlife, in 1879 when the Texas legislature appropriated more than 3 million acres of it and other Panhandle counties to use in financing a new state capitol building in Austin, six hundred miles away. A syndicate of Chicago investors secured some $5 million in US dollars from British backers to purchase the land--and by 1888 Austin had its grand Renaissance Revival capitol of sunset red Texas granite. And that 3 million acres had become the XIT Ranch, stretching from Buffalo Springs near the Oklahoma border to the Yellowhouse Creek near present-day Lubbock, the largest in the world under fence. Though the XIT was never as profitable as its investors hoped, and by 1912 the last of its cattle herds had been sold off, its legend looms large in the history of Texas and the West. J. Evetts Haley recorded the ranch's story as The XIT Ranch of Texas and
Cowboys at the XIT Ranch in 1891 (Wikipedia)
Cowboys at the XIT Ranch in 1891 (Wikipedia)
the Early Days of the Llano Estacado (1929). The herd averaged 150,000 head managed in eight divisions, each with its own foreman, cowboys, and horses; at its peak the XIT employed 150 cowhands who rode 1,000 horses and branded 35,000 calves in one year. Today the XIT Rodeo & Reunion in Dalhart celebrates the memory of the famed ranch each August, and the XIT Museum provides a rich experience for visitors year-round. 
(Information from tshaonline.org 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 20 listings in Dallam County. 
Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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Founded  1876  County seat  Dalhart
Population  6,703
Communities   Dalhart   Texline   Perico
Mascot  Dalhart Wolves, Texline Tornadoes

DID YOU KNOW?  Dalhart is one of the busiest stopovers in Texas for travelers from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston areas headed to Colorado. The city's friendly folks -- and their restaurants, restrooms, and overnight lodging -- welcome travelers year round!

Dalhart Chamber of Commerce
Dalhart Chamber of Commerce, 102 E. 7th Ave.
START YOUR TOUR OF THE NORTHWESTERNMOST CORNER OF TEXAS  in the heart of Dalhart, at its Chamber of Commerce building and visitor center, where you'll find not only an array of information for travelers but a cleverly hidden geocache.

There's lots to do downtown, including shopping on Denrock, the city's main historic commercial street, visiting the XIT Museum (where you'll find lots more than ranch history alone, including natural history exhibits with an animal-tracks mural on the ceiling that kids love, local art, displays from pioneer days, and transportation ranging from buggy to airplane), and strolling the grounds and interior of the 1923 Classical Revival courthouse.

Ranch exhibit at XIT Museum, Dalhart 
Ranch exhibit at XIT Museum, Dalhart

Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart
Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart
If you're lucky enough to be in town when there's a show slated at the La Rita Performing Arts Theatre, you won't want to miss this elegant auditorium restored from its movie-house heyday. And if you're here on the right early-September evening, you can catch outdoor entertainment, games, rides, and booths at the Dalhart Block Party that "Keeps the Shine on Denrock" with multiple blocks of its brick-paved streets cordoned off for pedestrians.

La Rita Performing Arts Theatre, Dalhart 
La Rita Performing Arts Theatre, Dalhart
Just outside of town, Lake Rita Blanca Park, owned and maintained by the City of Dalhart, is an excellent spot for picnicking and birding. When you're done with your afternoon in the park, drive a short distance to the Dalhart Municipal Airport, a destination with surprising treats in store. From the inspiring mural on the outside of its terminal building to the sophisticated decor of its lounge featuring custom artworks and a propeller-blade sculpture, the airport functions as a mini-museum. And the on-site sit-down restaurant, open to the public, is a great place to grab a steak or loaded baked potato for dinner as you watch general-aviation flights arrive and take off.

Lounge, Dalhart Municipal Airport
Lounge, Dalhart Municipal Airport
Dalhart's Lusk Onion Co. ships tons of locally grown pumpkins each fall.
Dalhart's Lusk Onion Co. ships tons of locally grown pumpkins each fall.

Before you leave Dalhart, check out recreational opportunities for bowling, bingo, or golf; visit the downtown library or the offices of the local newspaper, the Dalhart Texan; or just enjoy the dramatic sunrises and sunsets and the star-filled night sky.

Texline, birthplace of renowed Dallas pastor W. A. Criswell, is situated on US 87 a mile from the New Mexico border. Its highway vista offers the first view of the Rocky Mountains for travelers headed north.

The Rita Blanca National Grasslands, covering hundreds of thousands of acres in Dallam County and nearby portions of Oklahoma and New Mexico, preserve the landscape of the prairie much as it was in pre-settlement days. Read more about the history of the area and the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl on this part of the nation at the U.S. Forest Service's website. Another annual event that recalls the 1930s heritage of the region is the Dust Bowl Marathon, a multi-day spring race that covers parts of five states.


The annual XIT Rodeo & Reunion is slated for August 6-8, 2015, in Dalhart. According to the event's website, "Since 1936, cowboys and their families who worked on the XIT Ranch have been gathering at annual reunions to reminisce about life on the ranch. Since 1937, these reunions have been held in Dalhart, where the addition of a rodeo and a free barbeque have been opened to the public. Today, the event, which triples the size of the town, is one of the most exciting western celebrations in the world."
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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 info@TexasPlainsTrail.com 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 www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME

What was happening in the world in 1952? Elizabeth II became queen of England; Sun Records began pressing vinyl records in Memphis, Tennessee; and Dwight Eisenhower was elected 34th president of the United States. 

Dallam 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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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 is known to legend as the birthplace of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker -- and in much later times, the reputed birthplace of, um, chicken fried steak. It's no April foolin' that its county seat celebrates an annual Chicken Fried Steak Festival. Name the county and its seat to win a prize!

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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 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.

On May 2, 2015 (5/2, get it?) we'll be kicking off National Travel & Tourism Week, in our region with a Hunt for History on Route 66 in Amarillo, focusing on the value of tourism to our nation, state, and region. Watch for details April 1!

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.