County Seat, Texas
4.8 miles S of the Carson County Line (FM 207)
miles W of the Donley County Line (Highway 287)
20 miles East of Amarillo
Population: 1, 313
(2000) 1,199 (1990)
in a Pecan Shell|
Claude Ayers, railroad engineer for the Fort
Worth and Denver City Railway had the town of Armstrong City renamed in his
honor when he drove the first train to town in 1887.
The town's business
district was originally platted along the railroad tracks with angles southeast
to northwest, while later building was platted on the traditional compass points.
A post office was granted in 1888 and the county was organized in 1890.
A dispute with the town of Washburn (13 miles NW) called for an election
with cattleman Charles
Goodnight (who lived East of Claude) supposedly casting the tie-breaking vote.
The largest hotel in the Panhandle,
a three-story model named the Palace opened and Claude organized their own school
district in 1891.
Claude's citizens reportedly used a trough on the
courthouse square for their water and a stone
courthouse was built in 1912.
Claude claims to have had the first
Boy Scout Troop (17) west of the Mississippi and to date, no one has stepped forward
to challenge that claim.
The population was just over 1,000 in 1930
and it fell to 761 by 1940.
A new Armstrong County jail was built from
the stone of the former jail in 1951.
Claude served as the backdrop
for the movie Hud in 1963, and several others films.
The current population
has increased back to a comfortable 1,300.
Great Panhandle Indian Scare|
Town of Claude historical marker
photo courtesy Stephen
Michaels, January 2008
the Bear by Mike Cox
Nickels were hard to come by in the tough economic
times of the early 1890s, but the cowboys patronizing Jim Scarborough’s saloon
in Claude never minded standing Blackie a drink when they could afford to...
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share history, stories, and photos of their
town/subject, please contact
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