Lipscomb County Courthouse
PANHANDLE SPRING WINDS whip the flags flying at the 1916 Lipscomb County Courthouse.
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 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!  
Wolf Creek Heritage Musuem leaders
WOLF CREEK WELCOME: The population of Lipscomb may be only a few dozen, but friendly faces around town and a dedicated team at the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum greet visitors warmly.
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Lipscomb County_ Texas
The Solid Ground Coffee House along Booker's Main Street beckons visitors for coffee and chat. 

Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf)
and Kiowas were pushed out of this corner of Texas and seven years before the arrival of the railroad, Lipscomb County's four ranches reported a total of 5,037 head of cattle. There were no cash crops -- and a total of 69 residents.

Lipscomb tree

STUMPED? Look closely to decipher the name carved into this dead tree trunk in a park along Wolf Creek.   
The land designated as Lipscomb County had been inhabited by a series of indigenous peoples who hunted game among hills and grasslands watered by numerous streams. Today the free-flowing Wolf Creek bisects the county east to west on its way to join the Canadian River across the Oklahoma state line.

_German Weddings_ display from Wolf Creek Heritage Musuem
"German Weddings" display from Wolf Creek Heritage Museum

German settlers around the turn of the 20th century brought wheat cultivation with them to the northern part of the county, and land tracts were sold to new arrivals on the railroad in 1887. That June, wishing to keep the original town of Lipscomb as the county seat, voters organized the county and forestalled any challenge from other, growing towns despite being bypassed by the rail line. Today Lipscomb, with its stately 1916 yellow-brick courthouse, has one of the smallest populations of any Texas county seat, with a current population of 44. The county remained thinly populated, relying on large ranching and agricultural spreads until the discovery of oil in 1956. Now the petroleum industry is ubiquitous in Lipscomb County, with oil-company tank trucks and pickups making frequent rounds of back roads and thoroughfares. 

For other travelers, this northeasternmost corner of Texas may be a bit off the beaten path. But for the voyager with time to look and learn, Lipscomb County amply rewards the time to visit and explore. 

Lipscomb County_ Texas 
SERENE ALONG HIGHWAY 15: Lipscomb County's highways and byways yield wide vistas across Texas's high ground north of the Canadian River valley at from 2,350 to 2,850 feet above sea level. 

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historic Sites Atlas guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including 37 listings in Lipscomb County. Click and explore for history on your desktop!
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Organized  1887
County seat  Lipscomb
Population   3,569 (2015)
Towns and communities    Booker, Darouzett, Follett, Higgins, Lipscomb
Mascots   Booker Kiowas, Darrouzett Longhorns, Follett Panthers, Higgins Coyotes

"Cowboy Fiddler" Frankie McWhorter (1931-2008), who played with Bob Wills and other Western Swing legends, lived most of his life in Lipscomb County, where he was known to play for local dances and gatherings -- as the fictional "Hank the Cowdog" stories make occasional mention. A tribute to the Western Swing hall of famer is on display at the Wolf Creek Musuem, which also offers CDs for sale.

TO GET A SENSE OF LIPSCOMB COUNTY'S LANDSCAPE, start out from the larger city to the south, Canadian, in Hemphill County (or if you're coming from the west, reverse this section and begin at Perryton, in Ochiltree County) -- since highways aren't numerous.
After crossing the Canadian River Bridge heading north, keep to US Highway 60 on the right. At the crossroads of Glazier, turn left to take TX 305 north toward Lipscomb.

Rolling brown sandhills punctured with tank batteries and pumpjacks dominate for a dozen miles until the road dips and turns down into a series of creeks bordered by terraced fields. Wheat, grand and forage sorghum, and corn are the main crops here, changing dramatic colors under the wide sky through the cycles of the year. Cottonwoods -- many damaged by recent droughts -- mark stream beds.

Roughly in the county's center is the neatly laid out street grid of Lipscomb, the county seat. A vintage Eclipse windmill signals the location of your first stop, right on 305: the Wolf Creek Heritage Museum, where you'll find a thorough overview of local and regional history and a delightful array of artworks. Try to plan arriving here between 10 and 4 on a weekday, and spending an hour or two. (If you're coming to use the genealogical and local history collections, housed in a comfortable, well-lit reading room, allow more time.)

ON TRACK_ The museum_s model train layout features the city of Booker.

ON TRACK: The museum's model train layout features the city of Booker.

Among the highlights of this purpose-built museum space are exhibits devoted to cowboy and ranch culture, military history, home and educational life, and the German heritage of the region. An impressive model-train layout features miniature structures of Booker, at 1,557 the county's largest town. A dedicated art gallery features rotating exhibitions of paintings and other works.

Doug Ricketts_ Art from the Ruins

ART FROM THE RUINS: Doug Ricketts's artist statement draws from Texas author Katherine Anne Porter's words, Art is what we find when the ruins are cleared away."

Doug Ricketts_ Art from the Ruins But you'll certainly want to devote some careful attention to the permanent installation of multimedia works by area woodsmith Doug Ricketts. A unique work combining art and history, "Art from the Ruins" was created in 2003 out of relics from the Wolf Creek homestead of May Moore. Spanning most of the twentieth century and Moore's marriage to rancher Davy Wright, the individual cabinets incorporate found objects and pieces of the house with documents and family photographs. The installation was displayed in 13 venues throughout the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma from 2003 through 2005 before finding its permanent home here.

COLLECTOR AND CRAFTSMAN J. W. Beeson creates a custom saddle.
COLLECTOR AND CRAFTSMAN J. W. Beeson creates a custom saddle.
Be sure to pick up a book or gift as a souvenir of your time here before exploring the courthouse square. Lipscomb isn't large, but its structures fascinate, from the imposing Classical Revival courthouse (now undergoing restoration, thanks to a Texas Historical Commission grant) and old jail, to neat-as-a-pin houses with whimsical touches, to its "main street" of cowtown shacks. Among these, if the door of saddlemaker and writer J. W. Beeson happens to be open -- a less frequent occurrence these days -- do stop in for a visit. The Lipscomb Union Church, on the east side of the square, marked its centennial in 2007.

Crossing Wolf Creek and continuing up Texas 305, you'll note the changing landscape, as ranching yields more to farming. The road will empty out onto the state's topmost highway, Texas 15, where you could choose a right (east) turn to explore Follett and down to Higgins, on the Oklahoma border, but today we're turning left and heading into Darrouzett and Booker.

Dust storm_ Darrouzett_ 1930s

Darrouzett, which marked its centennial in 2017, is famous for its Deutsches Fest each July, along with other community events. It's also home to the Last Buffalo Hunting lodge and a cafe where you can grab a bite. After taking in the town's man blocks, head back onto Texas 15 west for Booker. Enjoy the magnificent views as you parallel the old railroad route.

Booker Kiowas Booker, where the Kiowa spirit lives on in the school mascot and local pride, is home today to a significant hispanic population - so you have a choice of Mexican restaurants as well as the sit-down cafe inside the Booker Grocery, which serves up locally raised beef. Also in the grocery you can buy your greeting cards and Mrs. Baird's bread; try your luck in the quarters machine; pick up Kiowas-branded merchandise; stock up on tortillas and tomatillos; and drop off your drycleaning. It's a great small-town general store whose monopoly is soon to be challenged by a Dollar General on the highway.

Booker News Down the street, the coffee shop thrives, and the family-owned Booker News, one of several newspapers to have flourished in the county since the 19th century, touts its status as a Texas Treasure Historic Business Award winner.

Get your selfie at the Booker caboose -- bright red, on the corner by the red light -- before leaving town, whether continuing west to Perryton or south on Texas 23 to reconnect with the Canada-to-Mexico US 83 just north of the Canadian River. If your schedule allows, choose this latter route for dramatic views over the river bluffs. When you get back home from your journey through Lipscomb County and can settle in with author John Erickson's memoir Through Time and the Valley, you'll appreciate this country all the more. And you'll be eager to return when we post our Ochiltree County installment in a few short weeks!


Texas Fifty-Two-Step deck of playing cards  
Lipscomb County
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!

Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or for bulk sales and shipping.

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
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TX Highway 52 52-Card Pickup "52" TRIVIA TIME
52 pickup or 52-card pickup, according to Wikipedia. is a practical joke using a standard deck of 52 playing cards. While written records start later, the website claims, the prank appears to have been played among children as early as the middle of the 20th century.  


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 And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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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.

If you didn't guess Lipscomb from the image featured on the cover of the recent book "Hometown Texas" with photographs by Peter Brown and stories by Joe Holley, stop in sometime at the Ivanhoe State Bank building on Lipscomb's square -- now home to an art studio.

Next week we move from one of the least populous counties in the region to the most populous. Home of a musician born Charles Hardin Holley, this city and its county of the same name have lots to offer Texas travelers of all ages and interests. Email us with the right answer and we'll mail you a keychain. Stay tuned!
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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 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.

Every week's issue is archived on our website.   Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

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