The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

rhe Physiqraph)y of the retas
Pamhaudle
FRED RATHJEN
THE TEXAS PANHANDLE, the northernmost portion of the
state, has for its exterior boundaries the demarcations sep-
arating Texas from Oklahoma and New Mexico. These
boundaries, as defined by the Texas-New Mexico boundary settle-
ment of 1850, lie, on the east, from Red River along the one
hundredth meridian northward to parallel 36 3go'. The northern
boundary lies along parallel 36 30' between the one hundredth
and one hundred third meridians, and the one hundred third
meridian approximates the western boundary of the Panhandle.
The southern limit of the Panhandle, for purposes of this study, is
specified as lying along an east-west line through Plainview in
northern Hale County, Texas. Latitudinally, this line would lie
just north of the thirty-fourth parallel. The selection of this line
as the southern limit of the Panhandle is based on the fact that
it divides, with reasonable clarity, the cotton culture which char-
acterizes the South Plains from the wheat culture which is char-
acteristic of the North Plains. These boundaries encompass
twenty-six counties in their entirety and portions of six addi-
tional counties.
Although within the political confines of the state of Texas,
the Panhandle area has much more in common with other areas
of the United States than with many parts of Texas. The Pan-
handle is pre-eminently a part of the Great Plains region of North
America, and perhaps exemplifies plains characteristics as fully
as any other area within the region.
Walter Prescott Webb lists three characteristics of a plains en-
vironment: levelness of land surface, treelessness, and subhumid-
ity. Any area having two of these three characteristics, says Webb,
exhibits the culture characteristics of the plains.' The three marks
'Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains, 3-4.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/. Accessed July 28, 2014.