Panhandle Pilgrimage: Illustrated Tales Tracing History in the Texas Panhandle Page: 3
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"staked" but also as "stockaded" or "palisaded,"
by a wall of upright logs, pickets or other timber.
One explanation for the name Staked Plains is that a sea of grass covered the
soil so completely that the tracks of Coronado's large expedition left no perma-
nent mark. The explorer is said to have caused stakes (mounds of white stone,
Mojoneras) to be placed on the ground at intervals to mark his trail across the
trackless expanse. The stakes guided him in retracing his route on the return
trip. Other sources attribute the staking and naming of the region to Coman-
cheros, New Mexican traders who traveled out onto the Llano Estacado to trade
with the Comanches beginning in the 17th century and continuing until about
1874. They are said to have staked their routes with mounds of rocks near water-
holes or springs on their journeys to various Indian rendezvous sites in the Pan-
handle and farther south and east.
A second explanation is that Coronado encountered tall yucca plants ("Span-
ish bayonets" or "daggers") standing upright like stakes on the Plains.
A third theory is that the name was suggested to Coronado by the slopes lead-
ing up to the Plains from his western approach. This erosional escarpment from
a distance had the appearance of stakes, stockades or palisades, resembling a
wall which had to be climbed to reach the High Plains beyond. Some prefer
Stockaded Plains as a translation of Llano Estacado.
A fourth explanation for Llano Estacado: Francisco Amangual, Spanish
trailblazer between San Antonio and Santa Fe in 1808, wrote that when they
camped on the open Plains (with no natural confinement for their horses and no
trees on which to tie them) they found it necessary to drive stakes into the
ground to hold the horses' tethers. It is possible that Amangual coined the term
But whoever coined the term, for whatever reason, the Llano Estacado con-
tinues to figure importantly in the story of the Panhandle of Texas.
THE GOLDEN SPREAD: A term coined by Bob Izzard in January, 1954, to con-
tradict bad reports downstate concerning Panhandle weather conditions. Mr.
Izzard, reporting weather on KGNC radio in Amarillo, chose the word "Golden"
to suggest sunshine, which he pointed out was far more prevalent in the Pan-
handle area than the "blizzards" erroneously reported on the wire services.
The word "Spread" refers to a rancher's land holdings and was especially appro-
priate for the tri-state ranching area in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, with
Amarillo as its central point.
Gene Howe, Amarillo's newspaper publisher, realized that the corners of
Colorado and Kansas were also included in the trade territory and he wanted to
get rid of the old '"Tri-State" label for the area. It was through Howe's influence
that Izzard began the Golden Spread campaign. The Amarillo Globe-News, Howe's
company, financed the project by receiving collect telephone calls from more
than 120 amateur weather reporters recruited by Izzard in outlying towns. These
reporters functioned in that capacity for five or six years (until FFA began report-
ing official weather to radio stations). Many of the weather reporters later be-
came regular stringers for the Amarillo paper, covering news in their respective
The Golden Spread, according to Izzard, extended "from Liberal to Lubbock,
and from Sayre to Santa Rosa." (Liberal, Kansas; Lubbock, Texas; Sayre, Okla-
homa; and Santa Rosa, New Mexico).
The term Golden Spread has been adopted by merchants, chambers of com-
merce and tourist promoters An organization of these interests from through-
out the Golden Spread area was formed in February, 1954, with Frank Helvey
(the local Ford dealer and Izzard's newscast sponsor) as the first chairman. The
primary objective of the group was to publicize good travel conditions on the
area's network of highways so that exaggerated reports elsewhere of Panhandle
winter storms would not discourage tourism.
DALLA I SHERMAN HANSFORD I OCHILTREE LIPSCOMB
I I " J I " PERRYroN
I IsP EA F Di TAI
I I I "
OAL/AA .r ISP o NWsj
HARTLEY MOORE HUTCHINSON I ROBERTS EMPHIL
- I I \ I , Eo
O CHANNIN + I . MAMAMI ICA IAN
*OLDHM * oY POTTER I CARSON GRAY WHEELER
RANIH *AMFA I
I AMALLO I *
(approximately 165 miles square)
TH DEA SMITH RANDALL OF RMSTRONG EXAS:DONLEY IOLLINGSWORTH
spect to its shape, it differs slightly from the common
Sthe Canadian or North Canadian rivers; in the southern
Panhandle, intRo the Red River. The climate is moderate and
FARMER CASTRO SWISHER ElSC GE HALL I CHILDRESSI>
I VIMP rf I ruLIA I * I I
I FA E LLI I I 51LVEo SI R R C MI4LD ZFSS S I
(approximately 165 miles square)
THE PANHANDLE OF TEXAS:
Generally thought to be the area covered by the top
26 counties of the state-a large, nearly square area
constituting the northernmost part of Texas. In re-
sped to its shape, it differs slightly from the common
definition of a panhandle: a long, usually narrow,
tract of land appended to the main area of a state.
The Panhandle of Texas lies in the Southern Plains section
of the Great Plains. It lies in the northern portion of the
Llano Estacado. In area, the Panhandle covers 25,610 square
miles. Its elevation varies from 1600 feet in Childress County
(southeastern corner) to 4600 feet in Dallam County (north-
western corner). Streams in the northern Panhandle flow in-
to the Canadian or North Canadian rivers; in the southern
Panhandle, into the Red River. The climate is moderate and
relatively dry. Main industries include agriculture, cattle
HIGH PLAINS (or PANHANDLE PLAINS): that part of the Panhandle
north of the Palo Duro Canyon.
SOUTH PLAINS: that part of the Panhandle south of Palo Duro Can-
yon, as well as additional territory farther south within a 75-mile
radius of Lubbock.
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Robertson, Pauline Durrett & Robertson, R. L. Panhandle Pilgrimage: Illustrated Tales Tracing History in the Texas Panhandle, book, 1978; Amarillo, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth225495/m1/19/?q=llano%20estacado: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Canyon Area Library.