Day Trips: Farwell and the Ozark Trail

Texas town on the New Mexican border has one of the last highway markers


photos by Gerald McLeod

Farwell welcomed the arrival of the Ozark Trail in 1918 with the hope that economic prosperity would follow the maps to the isolated little town in the Texas Panhandle between Lubbock and Clovis, N.M.

The trail was a network of locally maintained roads promoted by a national organization to encourage tourists to the region. The two-way roads also connected Texas motorists to the resorts in the Ozarks.


Before the national highway system, municipalities received advertising in the Ozark Trails Association (OTA) publications. In exchange, the locals built dirt, gravel, and asphalt roads from St. Louis, Mo., to Santa Fe, N.M. Much of the trail was later converted to the federal highway system, including Route 66 across the Texas Panhandle.

The OTA encouraged communities to mark the route with signs or 25-foot-tall obelisks giving travel information such as distances to other towns. Of the estimated 22 white pyramids built in the Southwest only four survive in Texas at Farwell, Dimmitt, Wellington, and Tulia.


Farwell became the county seat of Parmer County in 1908. Once a cow camp for the XIT Ranch, the county was owned by the syndicate that exchanged construction of the state Capitol for land. The town is named for an executive of the company.

The original obelisk in Farwell stood at Avenue A and Third Street until the Forties. The current replica was built in 2010, and placed in City Park at Third Street and Avenue E next to the county courthouse.


1,324th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 40312, South Austin, TX 78704.

Follow "Day Trips & Beyond," a weekly travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Day Trips
Day Trips: The Grotto, San Antonio
Day Trips: The Grotto, San Antonio
Man-made cave part of “Art on the River”

Gerald E. McLeod, July 3, 2020

Day Trips: Port Isabel Lighthouse
Day Trips: Port Isabel Lighthouse
The lighthouse guided ships through the channel between Padre Island and the mainland

Gerald E. McLeod, June 26, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Farwell|Ozark Trail|Texas Panhandle

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle