For “Travel Tuesday” let’s visit Vega,TX in the Texas Panhandle Plains.
“The Texas Panhandle Plains region offers visitors a wide variety of experiences from the breathtakingly beautiful canyon lands, to the Old West heritage that is still evident today. You can visit the birthplace of Buddy Holly and many other famous artists, explore a wide variety of museums & exhibits, or simply enjoy the wide open skies that have attracted visitors for generations. Discover the adventure of the Texas Panhandle Plains.”
“Is situated at the junction of Interstate 40 (Old Route 66) and U.S. Highway 385 in southern Oldham County, approximately 30 miles west of Amarillo, on historic U.S. Route 66.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), all of it land. Population in 2011: 883.
In 2005, Vega was the setting for the CMT reality show, Popularity Contest.
Vega, the county seat of Oldham County, in the southern part of the county. It’s name is Spanish for "plain" or "meadow." As early as 1879 the area was opened by the state for homesteading.
N. J. Whitfield became the first settler in the fall of 1899 when he purchased the future townsite. Early in 1903 he sold a 100-foot strip across the county's southern end to the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Texas (later the Rock Island) Railroad as a right-of-way.
In May of that year A. M. Miller and Howard Trigg surveyed the townsite. Miller opened the first store in 1903. The following year a post office and a saloon were opened, and a school, which doubled as a Masonic lodge, was also built. In 1907 ranchers Pat and John Landergin purchased part of the LS Ranch from the Swift company.
The LS subsequently employed Patrick F. Garrett http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Garrett) to organize the LS Rangers, a vigilante posse, to patrol the Panhandle during the annual round-up. Four LS cowboys were killed during a gunfight in 1886 in Tascosa over issues that related to the earlier strike. Also during this decade the north Panhandle drift fence was built (1881–82), and the cattle trail from the Panhandle to Montana was begun (1883).
Working in association with the Pool Land Company of Amarillo, they brought in more prospective settlers for the community. The Landergins established a bank in 1908, and, after the railroad was completed the following year, the town boomed, adding various stores, two churches, a blacksmith shop, and a hotel. A. S. Hornbeck founded the Vega Sentinel in March 1909. About the same time Ed Murphy began the Oldham County News.
In 1914, the Vega Sentinel proclaimed: HOME OF OPPORTUNITY -- VEGA HAS the Grandest Hotels in the County, Largest Bank in County, and only Printing Office in County.
In a special election in 1915 Vega won a five-year battle to have the county seat transferred from Tascosa. By then Vega had a population of 223. Until a permanent courthouse was built, county business was conducted in the Oldham Hotel. J. N. Ivy installed the town's first telephone service.
In 1915, citizens voted that the county seat be moved from Tascosa to Vega. The population of Tascosa had dwindled and most of the county's residence now lived in Vega, Adrian, and Wildorado.
Citizens and merchants had to ride through the breaks and cross the treacherous Canadian River, which at that time had no bridge, in order to conduct official business. So it was decided that Vega would be the county seat and a new courthouse was built.
During the 1920s and 1930s the citizens of Vega sought to modernize their town. In 1927 it was incorporated with a mayor-commission government. A new school was built, and Southwestern Public Service opened an office in Vega in 1929.
Two years later a fire, which destroyed six buildings west of the courthouse square, prompted the town to establish a city water system. The development of tourist courts and other facilities for travelers on then U.S. Highway 66 (now Interstate 40) greatly enhanced the economy.
A volunteer fire department was organized in 1947. By 1967 Vega had four churches, two schools, a bank, and a newspaper, the Vega Enterprise. A county pavilion was built in 1966. The town is a farming and ranching trade center, and has grain elevators, farm implement houses, county and federal government offices, and several motels.
The population increased from 658 in 1960 to 900 in 1980, when over one-third of the population of Oldham County resided in Vega. In 1990 the population of Vega was 840.
In 1926, Route 66 was commissioned as a link from Chicago to L.A. and ran through Vega along the Old Ozark Trail. The popularization of the automobile brought new industry to Vega. Tourist courts, cafes, and gas stations sprang up.
Today, Route 66 tourists enjoy the history and nostalgia of places such as: Roark Hardware (oldest operating hardware store on Rt. 66), Dot's Mini Museum, Roosters, Hickory Inn, Bonanza Motel, Best Western Country Inn, the Vega Motel and the restored Magnolia Station.
The Magnolia Station was the second gas station to be built in Vega in the early 20's.
It was restored by the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Vega with partial funding from National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.”
Downtown Vega, with courthouse to the right and City Hall to the left
Gazebo on Oldham County courthouse lawn
Restored Magnolia gasoline station on U.S. Route 66
Old Cowboy boots hanging from tree in Vega.
“The exterior of the Boot Hill Saloon & Grill, at the intersection of U.S. 385 and old Route 66 in Vega, Texas, looks like something from the 1880s Old West.
But don’t expect it to be a rough-and-tumble joint where fistfights between cowboys outnumber the bottles of red-eye whiskey.
Sure, Boot Hill contains a lounge where local cowboys can toss back a shot or two. And sure, owner Rory Schepisi (of “Popularity Contest” and “The Next Food Network Star” reality TV fame) has been known to ride horses and help sort cattle at her boyfriend’s ranch.
But one should remember that Schepisi was a successful restaurateur and chef before she moved to the Texas Panhandle. That background becomes apparent through our eyes — and our taste buds — at the upscale casual restaurant that is Boot Hill.” More at: http://route66news.com/2007/10/03/an-evening-at-boot-hill-saloon-and-grill/
Vega, a little town, with a lot going on!
On This Day:
Atom bomb successfully tested, Jul 16, 1945:
“On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
On the morning of July 16, in the New Mexico desert 120 miles south of Santa Fe, the first atomic bomb was detonated. The scientists and a few dignitaries had removed themselves 10,000 yards away to observe as the first mushroom cloud of searing light stretched 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb sat when detonated was vaporized.
The question now became - on whom was the bomb to be dropped? Germany was the original target, but the Germans had already surrendered. The only belligerent remaining was Japan.
A footnote: The original $6,000 budget for the Manhattan Project finally ballooned to a total cost of $2 billion.”
Apollo 11 departs Earth, Jul 16, 1969:
“At 9:32 a.m. EDT, Apollo 11, the first U.S. lunar landing mission, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a historic journey to the surface of the moon. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19.
The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, separated from the command module, where a third astronaut, Michael Collins, remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston a famous message, "The Eagle has landed." At 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of the original schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module. Seventeen minutes later, at 10:56 p.m., Armstrong spoke the following words to millions listening at home: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." A moment later, he stepped off the lunar module's ladder, becoming the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.”
JFK Jr. killed in plane crash, Jul 16, 1999:
“On July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy, Jr.; his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy; and her sister, Lauren Bessette, die when the single-engine plane that Kennedy was piloting crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.”
The puppy pen with a top that was used to house the kittens, is finally folded up and out of the way. Kittens are a lot cleaner to take care of than puppies, so it didn’t take long to get the Grooming Room back in order.
Jay called, and Misty and I went down there, but not to pick him up. We had our walk, and she really wanted to go further than I did, which is a good sign.
Jay had been cleaning out some areas outside his place, and I picked up a bunch of stuff for recycling and donating. Also, I bought some lumber from him.
Later, I made a trip into our town, as I hadn’t been grocery shopping for a while. I didn’t mind going in the afternoon, as it was an overcast day.