Tahoka Daisy Wikipedia
NAME THAT FLOWER: Travel to Lynn County in springtime and you'll spot it everywhere! Read on.
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!  
SEAT OF GOVERNMENT Lynn County celebrated the centennial of its imposing Greek Revival courthouse in 2016 with public tours of its galleries and vaults and offices -- and then promptly shut the building off for a three-year grant-funded restoration. On July 20, 2019 at 2 p.m. the county will host a rededication ceremony (see details below). Among the historic features of the courthouse that was retained is a bullet hole and blood-stained marble wall where a prisoner in transit shot and killed a sheriff's deputy in 1936 (read more here).
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Lynn County_ Texas
Tahoka welcome 
TAHOKA, pop. 2,673, along US highways 87 and 380, is Lynn County's largest city.   
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf)
The level terrain that is now Lynn County, Texas, was long known for the permanent and intermittent lakes and draws that supported extensive plant and animal life. Double Lakes, seven miles northwest of Tahoka, and Tahoka Lake, five miles northeast of the city, hold water year-round; Mound Lake is a large and permanent playa on the Lynn-Terry county line, along with the large playas Twin Lakes and Guthrie Lake in the southwestern quarter of the county.

It was near one of these lakes, the story goes, that
Map of Lynn County_ showing lakes
Map of Lynn County, showing lakes
foreman's wife on Col. C.C. Slaughter's Tahoka Lake Ranch spotted a little lavender wildflower with a golden yellow center. The blossom, widespread throughout the region, came to be called the Tahoka Daisy, and gained wide fame as a symbol of the region. Like the better known Texas bluebonnet, it blankets the roadside, delighting travelers. Tahoka Daisy seeds, once marketed by Burpee's of Iowa, can be ordered today through catalogs.

 Before the ranches, bison ranged here, and Comanches hunted them in the temperate climate south of the Caprock. In the U.S. Army's campaign to drive out the Indians, Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie's Fourth U.S. Cavalry visited Tahoka Lake in 1872, and in November 1874 attacked a small encampment of Indians near Double Lakes and another at Tahoka Lake.

When Indian raids on buffalo hunters during early 1877 led to another military expedition in the South Plains, explains the Handbook of Texas Online, Capt. Nicholas Nolan's Company A of the Tenth Cavalry, the black "buffalo soldiers," left Fort Concho in July and proceeded to Double Lakes in Lynn County. They chased a band of Comanches northwest into New Mexico, lost the trail, and returned to Double Lakes in Lynn County. After eighty-six hours with no replenishment of their water supply, Nolan's company, straggled back to Double Lakes -- the last appearance by the United States Cavalry in pursuit of Indians in Lynn County. Four soldiers died; one of the casualties, Pvt. John T. Gordon, is buried at Double Lakes. A historical marker along U.S. Highway 380 west of Tahoka memorializes the event.

Bullafo Soldier tragedy marker

WEARY AND WATERLESS  A Lynn County historical marker tells the story of the 1877 Buffalo Soldier tragedy. A Quanah Parker Trail arrow nearby also memorializes the event.

Settlement was slow to come, with ranching eventually yielding more to cotton farming in the early 20th century. The county was organized at last in 1903, and an impressive new courthouse was built in the seat of Tahoka in 1916.

North of Tahoka, farming settlements sprang up around O'Donnell and Wilson, which later also became stops along the Santa Fe railroad line. Another small farming community, New Home, flourishes today, especially given its proximity to Lubbock, to the north. Though cotton and other farming enterprises were hit hard by the Great Depression, oil production in the county helped somewhat. Today, most of Lynn County's land supports cotton production, supplemented by cattle and oil. Driving the long, flat expanses of highway, visitors can appreciate the history of these ancient plains and lakes - or visit either of the county's two museums to learn more.

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 24 listings in Lynn County.  Click and explore for history on your desktop!
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Historical marker, Lynn County Courthouse

Organized  1903
County seat  Tahoka
Population    5,859 (2017)
Towns and communities    Tahoka, O'Donnell, New Home, Wilson
Unincorporated communities   Draw, New Moore  
Mascots   New Home Leopards, O'Donnell Eages, Tahoka Bulldogs,
Wilson Mustangs 

Charles A. Smith's original steel arrow sculpture that inspired the iconic sculptures of the Quanah Parker Trail is located at the Moore Insurance Company on West Broadway in New Home, Texas. Since that first arrow, Smith created nearly 90 more to mark the sites of Native American history in the Texas Plains Trail Region.

Tahoka Pioneer Museum

Tahoka Pioneer Museum

in a pickup, just like the locals. You can appreciate the rolling acres of pasture and the gentle swells of cropland better this way, and spot the swells that might hide a wide playa or a copse of cottonwoods.

The Tahoka Pioneer Museum just off the courthouse square is a great starting place to spot the first of several Quanah Parker Trail arrows in Lynn County, if you're around on a Friday or Saturday.

Lynn County courthouse records From there, pay a visit to the restored county courthouse (even if you aren't there to pay taxes) to appreciate its gleaming marble and woodwork. Make an appointment to stay a little longer if you plan to tackle genealogical or local-history research in its trove of old records that are in the process of being moved back in.

Early morning is an excellent time to spot wildlife at the Tahoka Lake Pasture, so head northeast up FM 400. The preserve is a private, foundation-run retreat, so call ahead. You might even be able to arrange to help on a natural-history project, if the time is right. Another giant arrow is found there.

Quanah Parker Trail arrow at Tahoka Lake Pasture

NATIVE ROOTS At Tahoka Lake Pasture, a relaxing spot once frequented by Comanche bands, descendants of Quanah Parker gathered with friends to dedicate a giant arrow sculpture in 2017. 

Judge Braddock and young visitors
RANCH HANDS  Rancher and county judge Mike Braddock greets young visitors on hand to watch the dedication of a giant arrow sculpture at the Tahoka Lake Pasture preserve south of Wilson. 
Head back west through the cotton-gin town of Wilson to New Home, to drive by arrow-maker Charles Smith's original sculpture. The late Smith welded other oversized icons as well: his place along Slide Road in New Home is graced with tall steel palm trees!

(Or head back to Tahoka for a bite of lunch at the Dixie Dog, Cardi's, or George's.)

Take FM 179 south to where it intersects with US 380. In this vicinity (8.5 miles west of Tahoka), look for the tall gate of the Stud Duck Ranch. There you'll find another Quanah Parker Trail arrow and a THC historical marker commemorating the Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877.

Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877

Find your way back south of Takoha to the farming community of O'Donnell, home of the Blocker family that produced Dan of "Bonanza" fame. There's an exellent small museum here -- and two more Quanah Parker Trail arrows.

If you've had a full day of arrow hunting, head back up U.S. 380 for a couple of miles till you come to the sign pointing west on FM 213. Head out to the end of the paved road. We hope you've brought pencil and paper, and a comfortable camp chair (you are in a pickup truck, right?). Your journey has brought you to Draw, Texas, on the edge of the farmlands (once grasslands; another nearby community still bears this name) looking down toward the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos. Take inspiration in this scenic back country and do what the sign says: for you've found yourself in Draw, Texas, population a few dozen. Sketch out something memorable from your Lynn County adventure to take back home -- from New Home to wherever home is for you.
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SAVE THE DATE for the rededucation of the Lynn County Courthouse
SAVE THE DATE for the rededication of the Lynn County Courthouse, Tahoka, Sat., July 20, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. with brief historical talk followed by an Open House. 

Texas Fifty-Two-Step deck of playing cards  
Lubbock County card
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 [email protected] 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 www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52
Dan Blocker as Hoss Carwright on _Bonanza_
Dan Blocker as Hoss Carwright on "Bonanza"
In August 1952 Dan Blocker of O'Donnell, Texas, was mustered out of the U.S. Army after service in Korea. He received a Purple Heart for wounds in combat. He went on to teach school in Texas and New Mexico for a few years before landing roles in "Gunsmoke" and a "Three Stooges" short film. But Blocker's big break, according to Wikipedia, came in 1959, when he was cast as Eric "Hoss" Cartwright on the NBC television Western series "Bonanza." He  played the role in 415 episodes. 

Lynn County
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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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.

With next week's issue we travel farther south toward Interstate 20 and the route of the historic Bankhead Highway. In this county you can buy a pair of boots, paddle a kayak, chow down on pizza or Tex-Mex, or study the skeleton of an ancient bison. Or do it all in one day!
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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 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.

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

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