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Texas Plains Trail Region

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

Goodnight


"Back from the Brink": Mary Ann Goodnight

Situated at the edge of the Llano Estacado on U.S. Highway 287 in northeastern Armstrong County, Goodnight was named for Charles Goodnight, who settled on a ranch near the site after selling his minority interest in the JA Ranch in 1887. Soon afterwards, the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway established a station there, and in November 1888 a post office was opened with Sam Dyer as postmaster. The first building at the townsite was Goodnight's ranchhouse, built in 1887. 

Lovingly restored by the citizens of Armstrong County and friends to illustrate the epic story of cattle ranching in the Texas Panhandle, the home is open to visitors today as part of the Charles Goodnight Historical Center. Learn about the days of the open range, about cattle drives and branding fires, about the Southern Plains bison herds saved from extinction, about the coming of the railroad and the barbed-wire fence, and the daily lives of Charles Goodnight and his family at the visitor center, then tour the 1877 two-story home filled with period furnishings, some original to the house. The home, a designated Texas landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, features a second-floor sleeping porch with spectacular views of the caprock and the nearby bison herd, descendants of buffalo raised by the Goodnights.

On the grounds you'll also find sculptural memorials to Goodnight's era: a statue of Charles Goodnight's first wife, Mary Ann Dyer Goodnight, and a bison calf; and a 22-foot-tall steel arrow commemorating the friendship between Charles Goodnight and Quanah Parker, last war cheif of the Comanches. To learn more about this arrow on the Quanah Parker Trail, click here.

Across the highway is the cemetery where members of the Goodnight family are buried, and where cowboys and visitors to this day tie their own colorful bandanas on the fence as tribute to the cattleman's legacy.


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Map & Directions

From the center of Claude, follow US287 twelve miles east to the hamlet of Goodnight. Turn right into the Goodnight Historical Center complex.