Panhandle, Texas.

Panhandle, Texas

Welcome sign at the City of Panhandle, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

Panhandle, the county seat of Carson County, is on U.S. Highway 60 in the south central part of the county. It derives its name from its location in the Panhandle and was initially named Carson City (for the county) and then later, Panhandle City. The community obtained a post office in 1887 and was platted in January 1888 as the terminus of the Southern Kansas (Panhandle and Santa Fe) Railway, on a site almost surrounded by several large cattle ranches. Over the next few months Panhandle acquired a school, a mercantile store, a bank, a wagonyard, and three saloons. In July 1887 Henry Harold Brookes began the Panhandle Herald (during the 1980s the region's oldest extant newspaper). Edward E. Carhart assisted Brookes in printing the Herald and also served as postmaster, banker, and druggist. Many early settlers made extra money hauling bones of slaughtered buffalo to the railroad to be shipped east to fertilizer plants (see BONE BUSINESS). When Carson County was organized in 1888, Panhandle became the county seat, and a wooden frame courthouse was completed there. Subsequently, several law offices were opened at the community, and the colorful Temple L. Houston frequented Panhandle as an attorney for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Townsmen built an interdenominational community church building in 1892. A sanatorium and several doctors' offices made Panhandle a haven for health seekers. The John Callaghan hotel hosted such distinguished guests as Buffalo Bill Cody and rancher Murdo Mackenzie. Frank N. Bishop managed the town's ice and coal business and the grain elevators along the tracks. At times as many as 65,000 cattle were held in the loading pens awaiting railroad shipment. In 1897 the community was scandalized when the Methodist pastor, George E. Morrison, poisoned his wife because he was in love with another woman. This murder, which received widespread attention, resulted in Morrison's trial and subsequent execution on the gallows in Vernon in 1899.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Place type

Panhandle is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [-City]
  • (Carson City)


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Panhandle by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
2,378 2020 United States Census Bureau
2,430 2019 Texas Demographic Center
2,452 2010 United States Census Bureau
2,589 2000 United States Census Bureau
2,353 1990 United States Census Bureau
2,226 1980 United States Census Bureau
2,141 1970 United States Census Bureau
1,907 1960 United States Census Bureau
1,403 1950 United States Census Bureau
978 1940 United States Census Bureau
2,035 1930 United States Census Bureau
638 1920 United States Census Bureau
521 1910 United States Census Bureau
468 1900 United States Census Bureau