BRANDING WALL:
The highway overpass in Guthrie where east-west US 82 meets north-south US 83 features many historic cattle brands of King County, including those of the Pitchfork, the 6666, and the Masterson.
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour
THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas -- places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.

We invite you to join us throughout the year for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each issue, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at TexasPlainsTrail.com to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our THC regional travel guide here (pdf).
And we'll see you along the trail!  
6666 Supply House_ Guthrie
The 6666 Supply House is a great starting point for a King County journey.
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King County_ Texas
King County record books_ King County Museum 
King County record books, King County Museum

King County
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf)
 
THE HISTORY OF KING COUNTY, TEXAS, is the story of vast rolling prairies along the branches of the South Wichita River, and the animals (many) and people (few) the land has long supported. Before white settlers arrived here with their surveys and sections, bison, coyotes, wolves, deer, and other creatures roamed here, hunted by Apache Indians and, later, Comanches.

By the 1880, early ranchers and a few farmers arrived - forty residents, as of that year's Census. They found water sources unreliable, as the 1976 history compilation King County: Windmills and Barbed Wire makes clear. It was the windmill, indeed, that transformed large ranches like the Pitchfork, the Matador, and the SMS.
Farming was limited to areas around Dumont and Finney in the north part of the county.

Early King County settler Isom Lynn
Educator and historian Ashley Pettiet Branch points out the long history of military service from King County.












 
 
 
In the award-winning 6666: Portrait of a Texas Ranch, photographer  Wyman Meinzer and writer Henry Chappell showcase "the beauty, the grandeur, and the drama of one of the most magnificent ranches on the planet." 

In 1877 Isom Lynn migrated west from Jack County to become King County's first permanent white settler; other newcomers were A. C. Tackett, Brants Baker, and Bud Arnett. But it was the coming of Samuel Burk Burnett's 6666 brand to King County in 1900 that brought the region international fame in cattle breeding and, later, horse breeding. Burnett acquired the Old Eight Ranch and made it the centerpiece of an enormous operation that remains in family hands today. The majority of King County's 913 square miles is still devoted to cattle raising on a few large ranches and several smaller outfits. While King County has the third-least populous of any county in the United States, it reports is the third-highest-income per capita income ($39,511) in Texas, according to Wikipedia.

From the King County Museum: Quanah Parker with Tom Burnett of the 6666 Ranch. Four Sixes founder was a great friend of the Comanche chief.
The 6666 "Big House," barns, bunkhouses, and other buildings are not open to the public, but the 6666 Horse Division, across the highway from the house, welcomes visitors who are interested in buying and breeding performance and racing American Quarter Horses. The 6666 Supply House is a popular stop in Guthrie - for its gas pumps as well as for groceries, garb, and souvenirs.

Today, the Chief Quanah Parker walking trail and park, in front of the 6666 Supply House in Guthrie, is home to a giant arrow marker on the Quanah Parker Trail and other public art installations.
  
 
 
Painting gates of 6666 airfield
The gates of the expanded 6666 Ranch airfield along US Highway 82 get a coat of paint.
 

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historical Sites Atlas  guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including 10 listings in King County. Click and explore for history on your desktop!
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Guthrie Jaguars KING COUNTY QUICK FACTS
Organized  1891
County seat  Guthrie
Population   282 (as of 2015)
Communities    Dumont, Finney, Guthrie
Mascots   Guthrie CSD Jaguars  

Portions of the movie  Mackintosh and T. J. , which starred Roy Rogers, were filmed at the Old Eight Camp in King County in 1975.

The Chief Quanah Parker giant arrow park and walking trail invites visitors to stroll the grounds of the 6666 Supply House along US Highway 83 in Guthrie_ Texas.

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO
King County Courthouse, Guthrie
START YOUR KING COUNTY SCENIC DRIVE at the King County Courthouse in Guthrie, if you're there during business hours.

You'll find local tourism information and some knowledgeable folks who can guide you and talk with you about the region's history. But we'll take our best stab at it here. 

On the grounds of the new courthouse, a sleek, modern building that took over the role from the two-story white-stucco 1914 structure next door in 1962, are memorials to fallen law enforcement officers as well as an old highway marker.

Guthrie, the tiny town at the heart of King County, occupies a crossroads of two major federal highways: US 82, which runs 1,652 miles from the beaches of Georgia to the desert sands of New Mexico, and US 83, stretching from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, all the way to tip Brownsville on the Gulf Coast.

The mystique of the West is no myth in King County_ Texas
The mystique of the West is no myth in King County, Texas.
Award-winning author Stew Magnuson writes at length about Guthrie in the Texas volume of his travelogue The Last American Highway: The Highway 83 Chronicles. Magnuson relates the story of the original Marlboro Man, Big'un Bradley, whose artifacts from ranching and Madison Avenue are on display in the King County Museum.



King County Museum _former 1914 courthouse__ Guthrie 
King County Museum (former 1914 former courthouse), Guthrie


After your museum your, take a look around Guthrie: the cemetery, the church and the old jail built of local stone, and the cemetery are located within a mile radius. If it's lunchtime, though, stop in at the Guthrie School, where even visitors may enjoy a nutritious, homestyle meal for free. The Guthrie Common School District is consistently ranked in the top of academic and athletic competitions (despite lacking enough upperclass boys to field a football team in some years).

The Guthrie Cemetery occupies a scenic ridge along the South Wichita River with commanding views of landscape and town.

Learn about Dumont, Texas, in the King County Museum.
A short drive north, and the broken rangeland smooths out into cultivated fields. The Starr Farms program used to operate here, with stars painted on the roofs of members' barns. "There used to be one on every corner" in that part of the county, recalls justice of the peace Melody Pettiet, "and now there's only one."

6666 horse barns by night

Coming back down to the highway intersection in Guthrie and turning west, visitors can appreciate the well-tended pastures and red-hued barns of the 6666 Horse Division. Just inside the gates stands the Jim Reno statue of the famous Quarter Horse racehorse Dash for Cash.

A roadside park just west of Guthrie provides a respite and a glimpse of the county's past. Turning back east, a different scenic drive with dramatic vistas peels off from US 82 and takes you to the southeasternmost corner of the county along TX Hwy. 222 toward Knox City.

But that is next week's edition, so stay tuned.

Tin ceiling detail, old King County courthouse



The Finney Gin 

still stands,
diminished thing
that once was all
there'd been to call
a siding and a
shipping dock
a stop, a pin-dot
plotted on a
county map;
existing solely
as a spot to
bring in crops,
Finney never won
post office, school,
or census tract.
 
Still, back when
producers' trucks lined up
from dawn to dark,
delinters, gin stands,
oil mills, trash bins ran
in endless shifts;
trains freighted bales
to market daily.
 
Carl Darr-made saddle belonging to Big'un Bradley
Then spindle picker,
stripper, module builder
did Finney in. Business
dwindled, din of saws
went mum, dryers'
hum spun to a halt,
ginners quit.
 
Today mute sentinel
of corrugated tin
beside the caliche lane,
windows free to pigeons,
skeleton wind-bent
and blooming rust,
it's gone to seed,
they'd say, their
metaphor for all
things left to
their devices,
finished, come to
roost and rest,
standstill.             Barbara Brannon 
 
 
The King County Museum provides resources for genealogical and historical researchers.
  


Return to the Remuda 2018
PLAN AHEAD FOR THESE ANNUAL EVENTS IN KING COUNTY
 
October 5-6, 2018:  Each year, Four Sixes' horses are offered at various Quarter Horse sales. The ranch's own "Return to the Remuda" sale is held each autumn in partnership with Pitchfork Land and Cattle Co., Tongue River Ranch, and Beggs Cattle Co. Even if you're not in the market for a top performance or racing horse, there's plenty of equestrian education and fun - and good food - to fill your weekend. Lodging is available in nearby Spur, Dickens, Knox City, and Matador.
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A WINNING HAND FOR YOUR TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL ADVENTURE

Texas Fifty-Two-Step deck of playing cards  
 
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip.   Order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $10 per deck (including tax & shipping), in shrink-wrapped custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

NOW AVAILABLE
Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or info@TexasPlainsTrail.com for bulk sales and shipping.




'52 DeSOTO PHOTO FUN
Flat 52 Car Cutout As you travel the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region, take our Plains Trail kids and dog along with you -- in our #C52NTX 1952 DeSoto Ragtop (pdf). Download and print the graphic on heavy paper on your own color printer. Cut along the dashed line. Then glue a stir stick or popsicle stick to the back -- and feature it in your photos of destinations all around the region. Along the way, share your pix to www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME
While everybody's got their mind on football this week, here's a bit of long-ago gridiron history: The Dallas Texans played their first game in 1952. But the Texans lost to the Giants, among whose effective defenders was a young player by the name of Tom Landry. It wasn't long before the Texans became the last team in the NFL to go bust. They lasted only one season, with a record of 1-11. (Pro Football Hall of Fame; Wikipedia) 

FOLLOW US ON THE TRAIL . . . AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit www.DriveTexas.org. And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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WHERE IN THE REGION? COMING UP NEXT WEEK
TPTR keychain
It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to share.

To win a nifty Texas Plains Trail Region keychain, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.

Congratulations to all our weekly winners so far.

Our next county sits at the far eastern edge of the region. Its geography is defined by two rivers, one draining eastward toward the Mississippi and the other south to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic divide between them is known as The Narrows.
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PARTNER AND DESTINATION REMINDER
Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.   Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Did you know you can add your own events to the TexasTimeTravel.com website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

DID YOU MISS AN ISSUE?
Every week's issue is archived on our website.   Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

Copyright © 2015-18 Texas Plains Trail Region. All Rights Reserved.