In 1882, the Texas Legislature gave three million acres of state land to Illinois investors to fund a new Capitol building in Austin. The land became the XIT Ranch, which initially covered part or all of 10 different counties.
A model of an XIT division headquarters is among ranching exhibits at Dalhart’s XIT Museum. Housed in a 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival building, the museum portrays the lives of XIT cowboys who herded cattle along a 200-mile stretch of the Texas-New Mexico border. Room scenes furnished with period artifacts recreate an early kitchen, parlor, bedroom and chapel, while dozens of historic photos retell the area’s development.
Dalhart’s XIT Ranch Reunion and Rodeo, held annually since 1936, serves a colossal free barbecue dinner. Its downtown offers the Classical Revival 1922 Dallam County Courthouse and live theater at the La Rita Performing Arts Theatre, a 1920s movie palace.