Western Trips

Western Trips

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shamrock Texas

route 66 in shamrock texas
Tower Service Station and U-Drop Inn
In the Texas Panhandle and along the old historic Route 66 is the town of Shamrock Texas. Western Trips visited Shamrock and uncovered a classic Texas town with a solid connection to the days when Route 66 brought many automobile travelers through the area.

Shamrock got it's name in 1890 from it's first supposed postmaster, George Nickle, who actually never opened up his post office. Nickle was a local rancher and suggested the name Shamrock which would stand for good luck and courage. A post office was eventually opened by a woman named Mary Jones who used Shamrock as the name for the settlement.

There were several factors that aided in the early growth of Shamrock. Long before Route 66 passed through the town, the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway opened a depot in Shamrock in 1902. The railroad actually called the stop "Wheeler" as in Wheeler County. About a year later however the railroad changed the station's name back to Shamrock which was the original name. Shortly after the railroad's arrival town lots were being sold and a school was established in 1903.

magnolia service station
Old Magnolia service station, Shamrock, TX
Tower Service Station and the U-Drop Inn

There are several historic structures you'll want to explore when visiting Shamrock. Established in 1936 was the Tower Service Station and the U-Drop Inn. The first thing you'll notice is a unique art-deco tower which was constructed to lure tourists passing by on Route 66. It's architect was a man named J.C. Berry from Pampa Texas also in the Texas Panhandle. You'll find the building on the corner of old Route 66 and U.S. Hwy 83. The service station and adjoining restaurant was thought to be the most up to date structure on Route 66 between Amarillo and Oklahoma City. The service station and restaurant building, like many similar structures along Route 66, fell into disrepair when the old Mother Road was replaced by the Interstate Highway.

Although it closed for business in the 1990's the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The structure was taken over by a local bank who then gifted it to the city of Shamrock. With funds from a federal grant the building was beautifully restored to it's original condition. Today the old Shamrock Texas Tower Service Station and U-Drop Inn serves as a gift shop, Visitor's Center and office for the local Chamber of Commerce.

pioneer west museum in shamrock texas
Pioneer West Museum in the old Reynolds Hotel
The Pioneer West Museum

This excellent museum is located in the old Reynolds Hotel which was constructed between 1925 and 1928 by attorney Marion Reynolds. The Pioneer West Museum's address is 204 N. Madden.

This is one fine museum with a large and varied collection of all things pertaining to the history of Shamrock Texas and the Texas Panhandle. In fact, the Pioneer West Museum is comprised of twenty-five rooms which houses it's collection.

Exhibits include cowboy gear, antique musical instruments, a large collection of horse saddles, a doctor's office and a dentist's office, pioneer weapons and a fine collection of ranch and farm artifacts. This is definitely one of the more interesting museums along old Route 66 and in the Texas Panhandle. If your travels take you along Interstate 40 between Amarillo and Oklahoma City you'll do well to add the Pioneer West Museum to your trip planner.

western horse saddle
Saddle exhibit at Pioneer West Museum
Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in Shamrock Texas

What would be more natural then celebrating Saint Patrick's Day in Shamrock Texas? Shamrock's Saint Patrick's Day event dates all the way back to 1938. A man by the name of Glenn Truax thought that Shamrock, with it's name and Irish immigrant history, would be the ideal spot for an annual Saint Patrick's Day celebration that would draw thousands of attendees.

The first annual celebration brought in about 2,000 people and twelve bands. The celebration however was cancelled between 1941 and 1950 largely because of World War Two. The Junior Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion helped restart the event in 1950 but again it was cancelled in 1951 due to the Korean War. The Saint Patrick's Day celebration started yet again in 1952, organized by the Shamrock Chamber of Commerce, and the event has been held annually ever since.

hair waving machine
Antique hair permanent waving machine exhibit
Links to three additional Western Trips photo articles you'll want to see for your trip along Interstate 40 in Oklahoma and Texas include;

The Roger Miller Museum featuring exhibits about the singer/songwriter in Erick Oklahoma about 23 miles east of Shamrock on Interstate 40.

Fort Reno Oklahoma which was an important military fort during the Indian Territory days as well as through World War Two. Lots of history and a great museum is located on the former military post.

Post Texas  

Post Texas was built in 1907 by cereal magnate C.W. Post. Post's idea was to built a model town. Post Texas is located about thirty miles south/southeast of Lubbock.

Visiting Shamrock Texas

Shamrock Texas is located about 110 miles east of Amarillo and about 188 miles west of Oklahoma City and very near to the Oklahoma border.

Just about anywhere you travel today along the old Route 66 you'll find plenty of interesting and historic towns and structures such as these in Shamrock Texas The links for the two Western Trips articles included with this post represent just a small sample of the trip stops you'll want to make.  A stop in Shamrock makes a good addition to your Route 66 trip planner with plenty of good photo ops.

(Photos are from the author's private collection)

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