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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Texas Panhandle : Canadian

CANADIAN, TEXAS

"Oasis of the Panhandle"

Hemphill County Seat, Texas Panhandle
Highways 60 and 83
52 miles N of Shamrock
44 miles N of Mobeetie
23 miles NE of Miami
105 miles NE of Amarillo via Hwy 60
Population: 2,233 (2000) 2,400 (1990)

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Former Hemphill County jail, Canadian, Texas
Former Hemphill County Jail in Canadian
Barclay Gibson, January 2003
History in a Pecan Shell

In early 1887 E. P. Purcell and O. H. Nelson, laid out a 240-acre townsite for the soon to arrive Southern Kansas Railway. The site, which was on the South bank of the Canadian River connected to the community of Hogtown (AKA Clear Creek) by a bridge that summer. Residents and businesses crossed from Hogtown to be near the rails.
Canadian river and oil wells, Canadian, Texas 1920s
"A pretty view showing the Canadian River in the Background."
1920s vintage photo courtesy Ken Sharpe
Oil wells, Canadian River, Canadian, Texas 1920s
"Strange Locations of Oil Wells in Canadian River"
1920s vintage photo courtesy Ken Sharpe
A post office was granted in August of 1887 and the town's first hotel - The Log Cabin opened its doors. On Independence Day 1888, Canadian hosted the first annual Cowboys' Reunion rodeo - one of the first commercial rodeos in Texas.
Canadian, Texas depot
Canadian Depot

Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
By 1900 the town was thriving due to its being a division point fort the railroad. The town soon had cotton gins, grain elevators and even a private academy, as well as the usual businesses necessary to a vibrant town. It was estimated that the town once had as many as thirteen saloons.

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union set up their own building - which also houses the city library.

The Handbook of Texas acknowledges the names of early business pioneers as George and John J. Gerlach, Harvey E. Hoover, Edward H. Brainard, and Nahim Abraham, who immigrated from Lebanon.
Palace Theatre, Canadian, Texas
The recently restored Palace Theater has a history going back 80 years.
Photo courtesy Wes Reeves
Mr. Abraham, descendant, is the man responsible for the renovation of Canadian's beautiful Palace Theater.

Temple Lea Houston, Sam Houston's youngest (and most flamboyant) son once lived in Canadian before settling in what is now Oklahoma.
Roundhouse in Canadian, Texas
The Roundhouse in Canadian

Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
The railroad, which had long since been absorbed by the Santa Fe - closed the roundhouse in the 1950s. This might have been a deathblow to a lesser town, but Canadian survived. From the 1950 population of 2,600, it grew to nearly 3,500 by 1980.

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CANADIAN ATTRACTIONS

Hemphill County Courthouse
Canadian River Wagon Bridge
Constructed in 1916. Restored in 2000
  • River Valley Pioneer Museum
    118 North 2nd Street.
    Tuesday to Friday 10 to 12 & 1 to 4. Sunday 2 to 4
  • The Palace Theater: 210 Main Street 323-5133
    The recently restored theater has a history going back 80 years.
  • Lake Marvin
  • Canadian Hotels > Book Your Hotel Here & Save
  • Canadian Tourist Information
  • Chamber of Commerce: 216 South Second Street Canadian, Texas 79014 806-323-6234
  • Canadian-Hemphill County Economic Development Council
    216 South Second 806-323-5397
    Contact the Chamber for their complete, all-in-one, 60 page information guide. Although there is no table of contents, you'll probably see things you might have missed had there been one. Maybe that was the idea. There's an abundance of historic photographs which are usually left out of most brochures.
  • Canadian Hotels > Book Your Hotel Here & Save
  • Canadian, Texas Area Destinations:
    Shamrock
    Mobeetie
    Miami
    Amarillo
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