Travelers have begun to notice giant roadside arrows crafted in steel, standing over twenty feet high and accented with bands of Comanche red, yellow, and blue, appearing along strategic sites in the region. The arrows, sponsored by the Texas Plains Trail Region and designed by sculptor Charles Smith, mark key locations in the history of Quanah Parker, Comanche chief and Texas legend. Parker was the son of the Comanche leader Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a captive who spent twenty-three years with the Comanche tribe. After surviving the Red River War, final confrontation between Native Americans and the U.S. military for control over the Texas frontier, Parker led his people into an era of compromise and assimilation. Parker’s connection to the Plains Trail Region community is a strong one and still echoes throughout the rolling plains counties.
The Quanah Parker Trail explores the life and legacy of Parker and his influence across the region in places marked by the arrows like Spur, home of Copper Breaks State Park where Parker and his people roamed. Nearby, the Spur-Dickens County Museum features a headdress thought to belong to Parker. The arrow in Matador marks where Parker spent time during the early 1900s, documented in an impressive collection of historic photographs displayed at the Motely County Historical Museum. Matador’s arrow can be found piercing the ground around the 1891 Motley County Jail, a center of legend in its own right. The town of Quanah, named on behalf of the Comanche chief, features an arrow near its well-preserved historic business district where a 1938 mural “The Naming of Quanah” can be seen in the lobby of the Quanah Post Office and a granite tribute to Parker anchors the downtown square. Visitors may also explore Parker’s legacy in detail at the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railroad Museum in town. But the Quanah Parker Trail isn’t limited to just sites. The project also sponsors events including arrow dedication ceremonies and participation in regional celebrations. For a complete schedule of events and a driving map of the trail visit www.quanahparkertrail.com. Then hit the trail and watch for the arrows!