Swenson Park, Spur, TX
At Swenson Park's historic swimming pool (Spur, Dickens County), the bathhouse was constructed with local stone and petrified wood in 1937. The pool and bathhouse were named to Preservation Texas's Most Endangered Places list in 2010. Other Dickens County structures joined the list in 2015.
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour

City of Spur, Texas 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.

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!  
Spur's Harry Bob Martin tells about the restoration of the city's Palace Theater
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Dickens County, Texas
 
Dickens County, Texas 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
WHAT THE DICKENS?  
This remote, sparsely populated, but fascinating part of central West Texas was once home to the Wanderers Who Make Bad Camps Band of the Comanches. It was also the headquarters, in the mid-1870s, of Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie and the U.S. Fourth Cavalry, whose mission was to break the Indians' dominance of the area. The army's outpost was located at Anderson's Fort, or Soldiers Mound, near present-day Spur.
After settlement large cattle ranching operations -- the Spur, the Pitchfork, and the Matador -- blanketed most of the land. The Espuela Land and Cattle Company, owners of the Spur Ranch, established the company town named for itself (espeuela being Spanish for spur) as the county's first seat in 1891, but the following year settlers won out over the ranching stronghold and voted for Dickens as the seat of government. Today, ranching on these large spreads carries on earlier traditions with a modern twist. The Pitchfork, occupying some 165,000 acres in Dickens and King counties, uses helicopters in addition to its signature gray horses with black mane and tail for herding its cattle, and parts of its spread are open to game hunting expeditions. In March 2015 Dickens County was named to the state's list of Most Endangered Places by Preservation Texas, to highlight the risk of losing a rich collection of historic structures to decay and disuse. Numerous preservation success stories draw visitors to the county, including its historic courthouse in Dickens, and an excellent historical museum (once a hardware store) and a vintage movie house in Spur. (Information from tshaonline.org, and www.thepitchforkranch.com)

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 28 listings in Dickens County.   Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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DICKENS COUNTY QUICK FACTS
Founded  1876  County seat  Dickens
Population  2,444

Communities   Afton   Dickens   McAdoo   Spur 

Mascots  Patton Springs Rangers; Spur Bulldogs and Spurettes

DID YOU KNOW? Both the city and county of Dickens were named for J. Dickens, who fought in the Battle of the Alamo.

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO

Spur and arrow, Spur, Texas
Spur and arrow, Spur, Texas
AN APPROPRIATE STARTING POINT
for touring Dickens County might be the World's Largest Spur, a roadside icon constructed to celebrated Spur's centennial that shares a small city park in Spur with the county's giant arrow marker on the Quanah Parker Trail. 
      Up the hill is Swenson Park, built for ranch hands' recreation in the 1930s with a nine-hole golf course, swimming pool, baseball field, basketball and volleyball courts, rodeo arena, exhibition barn, and a picnic area with grills and large covered pavilions that is still in use. On the same stretch of highway is the site of Spur's Dairy Queen restaurant, which was destroyed in a 2013 fire -- taking with it a mini-museum of the county's connections to Quanah Parker, using replica photographs. The county plans to remake the display in its museum.
     Turning back toward town, cruise down the main drag, Burlington Avenue, stopping at the historical marker denoting the site of the former Spur Inn, once an elegant and popular stopover along the railroad.
Palace Theater, Spur
Palace Theater, Spur
     You'll come to the Palace Theater, whose beautifully restored neon sign you can't miss. The Palace, built in 1952, today serves as a venue for live music and other events, and vigorous efforts to complete its restoration are under way.
    A few blocks down you'll come to the Spur-Dickens County Museum, a former hardware now transformed into one of the county's historical treasures. Exhibits document early days in the area, from railroads to ranches and much more. On the same side of the street, look in on a class at the Spur Art Guild or shop for just the right cowboy hat at the Rowel general store.




Spur-Dickens County Historical Museum
Imaginative dioramas at the Spur-Dickens County Historical Museum show everyday life as it was.

The Rowel, Spur, TX
Hats and Justin boots (and spurs!) at the Rowel
Friends of Dickens County
Friends of Dickens County

























     If you're looking to stay overnight and explore more of the area, hosts Leo and Joan Day of the Back Door Inn at 403 Burlington welcome you to step back in time and relax at their B&B. The inn, built soon after the town's establishment in 1909, was once a library, a variety store, and an antique store, and you can still make your gift purchases in the retail part of the establishment. 
     Next day, take a scenic drive through caprock country up to the county seat of Dickens to see the park at the old Dickens Springs and visit the historic courthouse, which is in the process of restoration. According to Preservation Texas, which named Dickens County's historic resources to its 2015 list of Texas's Most Endangered Places, "historic assets in Dickens and nearby Spur represent a cross-section of Texas architecture of the 20th century that can be the basis of a strong preservation-based heritage tourism economy."

Dickens County Courthouse, Dickens, Texas
Dickens County Courthouse, Dickens, Texas
 
PLAN AHEAD 

The Motley-Dickens Old Settlers Reunion & Rodeo was established in 1923; today this longstanding ranch rodeo is held in August.
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A WINNING HAND FOR YOUR TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL ADVENTURE

  Dickens County playing 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!

AVAILABLE APRIL 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
52 superheroes: The New 52 is a 2011 revamp and relaunch by DC Comics of its entire line of ongoing monthly superhero books.

FOLLOW US ON THE TRAIL . . . AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Dickens 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 APRIL 8
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 was such a haven for teetotaling moralists in the bad old days, it gained a reputation as "Saints' Roost." Name the county and its seat to win a prize!
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Hunt for History on Amarillo's Historic Route 66 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.

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. Download your passport and start hunting!

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.