a Pecan Shell
Halsell, owner of the Mashed O Ranch, was happy to see a railroad
shipping point arrive here in 1913 as part of the Pecos and Northern
The townsite was laid out in 1923 and the town-to-be was named for
Amherst College in Massachusetts by one of the railroad officers.
A post office opened the following year and by 1930 the number of
residents neared 1,000. Amherst’s pride was their hotel. It became
a popular stopping point for travelers between Lubbock
and Clovis, New Mexico.
The Great Depression reduced the population and the 1940 Census showed
749 residents. The town wasn’t incorporated until 1970 when the population
was recorded at just over 800. It increased to 971 for the 1980 census.
It was reported at 742 for 1990 and 791 in the year 2000.
"Town of Amherst" Historical
Amherst, Texas Landmarks
Historical Marker on FM 37
next to Amherst city hall
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, August 2009
Town of Amherst
Began in 1913 as
a cattle-shipping point on Pecos and Northern Texas Railroad. Served
the 300,000-acre Spring Lake Ranch, which was established in 1902
by W.E. "Colonel Bill" Halsell (1850-1934) and his son Ewing Halsell
(1877-1965). According to local tradition the shipping point was named
for Amherst College, Mass., alma mater of one of the railway officials.
When, in 1923, the economy of the High Plains began to switch from
ranching to farming,
the Halsells divided much of their land to sell to the influx of new
settlers. Farms could be bought for $25 an acre.
They set aside land at the railroad depot for a town and donated lots
for a school and churches. First permanent building was the Amherst
Hotel, built by Halsell Land Company for prospective buyers and visitors.
It also had space for a bank, general store, and office. For years
it was the most popular hotel between Clovis, NM and Lubbock,
The first general store was opened in 1923, a post office in 1924,
and the First National Bank in 1925. The town's first newspaper was
the "Argus". By 1930 Amherst had a population of 964. Today (1972)
citizens number 835 and the economy is based on cotton
and grain, hog raising and cattle
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