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Texas Plains Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Clarendon


Donley County Courthouse, Clarendon

Brick streets and tree-shaded lawns frame the Donley County Courthouse like a century-old picture postcard. Pointed towers rise from polychromatic walls of red brick and white limestone. The restored 1891 Romanesque Revival edifice remains the oldest functioning courthouse in the Panhandle. Irishman John Adair and pioneer trail driver Charles Goodnight formed the JA Ranch, the region’s first ranch, and a "Christian Colony" called Clarendon sprang up nearby. Rowdy JA cowboys gave the bar-less town a new nickname, “Saints’ Roost.”

In 1887 Clarendon moved six miles to the new railroad line, and in 1910 Cornelia Adair opened a hospital to care for ranch hands. The former hospital is now the Saints’ Roost Museum, a repository of county artifacts. The museum houses a small exhibit on the Red River War, highlighting the 1874 U.S. Army raid on an Indian village northwest of Clarendon. Other exhibits range from fossils found at area ranches to art by Western painter and native son Harold D. Bugbee.

Each September the museum hosts the Col. Charles Goodnight Chuckwagon Cook-off. Clarendon’s classic 1950s Sandell Drive-In shows movies seasonally, and the 1940s Mulkey Theater, named for an early town photographer and movie operator, has also been restored to its former glory.

The museum is also the site of a giant arrow marker on the Quanah Parker Trail. Learn more about the arrow, and this area's Comanche history, here.


Contact

  • Contact: Clarendon Chamber of Commerce and EDC
  • Phone: 806-874-2421
  • Visit Website

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