The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 112
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
veled at Palo Duro's extent and complexity. Ranald S. Mackenzie's
cavalry struck a Comanche encampment there at dawn on September
28, 1874, and captured and shot 1,048 Indian ponies. Two years later,
Charles Goodnight trailed a herd into the Palo Duro to start a ranch;
by the end of the century settlers were locating claims in its environs.
Increasingly aware of the uniqueness of the canyon, local boosters in
the cities of Canyon and Amarillo generated interest in preserving it
for public enjoyment, and the state, through land purchases and with
National Park Service assistance, finally opened a 15,1o3-acre park at
the head of the canyon in 1934. Additional advertisement was given the
site in the summer of 1966 when a musical extravaganza was performed
there-the drama, called "Texas," has since become an annual sum-
mer event. A detailed look at the nature, history, and development of
the Palo Duro Canyon Park appeared in seven essays published in the
1978 issue of the Panhandle Plains Historical Review. This book of
valuable essays, ably edited by Duane F. Guy and reprinted in a hand-
some volume entitled The Story of Palo Duro Canyon, will quickly
become the basic guide to Texas's largest state park.
The information in the volume falls into two categories. Four essays
describe the geology, archeology, paleontology, and vegetation of the
canyon, and provide considerable detail on strata, sites, fossils, and
plants, together with excellent illustrations and published references.
Although the impact of the canyon is largely visual, the average tourist
may find parts of these technical discussions about the landscape hard
going. The last three essays focus on the historical record of the canyon,
including accounts of efforts to make it into a park. The highlight of
the book is the story of how citizens' groups in the Panhandle sought
to push the State Parks Board into acquiring and designating the more
distinctive parts of the canyon for posterity. This section is replete with
ideas and insights which will be of interest to others with similar proj-
ects. Appended is a road log from the city of Canyon (twelve miles west
of the park) down through the canyon, with special references to mark-
ers, prominent sites, and picnic and camping areas. A foldout color
panorama of the park prefaces the volume; special maps are in a back
endpocket. The book also has an index.
The Story of Palo Duro Canyon is a storehouse of information. The
essays flow smoothly, complement each other well, and give the reader
a valuable perspective on every aspect of the canyon. Several contribu-
tors stated that a greater, in-depth study of the life of the canyon was
needed. Hopefully this book not only will help attract tourists to the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/132/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.