Monday, August 27, 2012

A Pair of Panhandle Towns

While staying at Caprock Canyons State Park, we drove into Quitaque and Turkey, the two closest towns to the park. It was like stepping back in time, and I mean that in the nicest way.

Both towns have populations just under 500, and children from the towns attend Valley School, located almost halfway between the towns on Highway 86.

Country music fans may recognize Turkey as the hometown of Bob Wills. It is also home to the Turkey Hotel, located about a block north of Highway 86 in the downtown area. The downtown area is very clean in appearance, but many of the buildings are no longer in operation.

Bob Wills monument in Turkey

Turkey Hotel

Downtown Turkey on an overcast day
10 miles west of Turkey, Quitaque is a bit more progressive, but it still offers a glimpse into the past. Side streets are in better repair than in Turkey, and the downtown area shows signs of recent work with sidewalks reflecting handicap-accessible upgrades. 

An old Mobil station restored to its former glory
Located about halfway between the towns, near the Valley School, is the old appropriately named Midway drive-in theater. Although the sign states it is closed for the winter, it is obvious that it is permanently closed.

Midway Drive-in Theater
The Caprock Canyons Trailway bypasses both Turkey and Quitaque. Signs in both towns indicate the trailway’s presence, but do not indicate where the trailhead is.

I was surprised to find cotton growing in the area. I thought this area is a bit too far north for cotton, but the farmers know more about this that I do. In fact, as much land between the towns is used for cotton farming as far ranching. The crops I saw were healthy.

Cotton fields between Quitaque and Turkey

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