A PLAINS LEGACY
Before the Texas Plains Trail community of Claude installed modern plumbing for its residents, citizens were required to haul water from the public trough, located on the courthouse square beneath the shade of a cottonwood tree. At the time Claude won the Armstrong County seat courtesy of an election held in 1890, the outcome of which, according to folklore, was determined by a tie-breaking vote cast by none other than Charles Goodnight.
The era also saw the construction of the elaborate, three-story Palace Hotel, considered the largest hotel in the Panhandle at the time of completion. Today, visitors may discover the details of Claude and Armstrong County heritage (and enjoy a bit of theatrical drama) at the Armstrong County Museum and Gem Theatre.
Twelve miles east on US287 at Goodnight, the Charles Goodnight Historical Center, incorporating a visitor center, outbuildings, and the restored home of Charles and Mary Ann Dyer Goodnight, who lived in the handsome prairie structure from 1887 to 1926, preserves the legacy of the Plains ranching legend. Goodnight, an entrepreneur, rancher, and frontiersman, and his wife Mary Ann were instrumental in saving the country’s historic bison herds from extinction.