Monday, February 9, 2009

Bigger Ain't Always Better -- A My Town Monday Post

Okay, the tile of this post kinda goes against the Texas stereotype, but facts are facts. and don't worry this post is not about the Texas woman who just established a world record for bust size. Heck, even we Texans got some standards on decency when it comes to over doing it. Which is why she had to travel top Brazil for her latest enhancement.

But as I said this post isn't about her, though it does have to deal with boobs. At least that's where it starts. With the boobs down in Austin, better known as politicians. Back in 1876 the Texas legislature decided they needed some fancy new digs in order to conduct their business. official decided they need a new dwelling. Problem was they didn't have an extra 3.7 million in the coffers to fund the project.

It took a number of years before progress was made, but it was finally decided that the state would trade away 3,000,000 acres of panhandle land in exchange for the cost of the granite capitol that is still the largest state capitol in North America. A syndicate led by two brothers, Charles and John Farwell accepted the land as payment for construction costs.



That land became known as the XIT Ranch and covered all or part of ten panhandle counties, but contrary to popular belief XIT did not stand for Ten In Texas a reference to the number of counties. The name actually came about because the brand was easy to make, yet was not easily altered by rustlers. North the South the ranch spanned 220 miles and was on average 30 miles wide. The ranch encompassed more land than three entire states, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut. It was the largest ranch in world and had over 1500 miles of fence.


But the ranch's size wound up working against it. Rustlers cut fences, wolves preyed on calves, and the area was too vast to watch over. The timing was also bad since cattle prices crashed in 1886 and 1887. By 1888, the ranch was unable to sell its cattle and break even.

In 1901, the syndicate that owned the ranch was forced off the land to pay off foreign investors as the bonds became due. By 1905, most of the land had been subdivided. The last of the XIT cattle were sold on November 1, 1912.

Charles Farwell died in 1903 and his brother John passed away in 1908.

The city of Dalhart Texas hosts an XIT days rodeo and reunion every August. There is live music, a rodeo, and what is billed as the worlds largest free barbecue.

I guess you could say the state got the best end of the deal since the capitol is still around whereas the massive ranch crumbled. But a dollar an acre seems awfully cheap to me, even for those times, but my guess is that the state legislature considered The Panhandle as no man's land. Sometimes it seems as if they still do.

Why? Because ranch headquarters was closer to six other state capitals than to Texas' capital of Austin -- Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Denver Colorado, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Topeka, Kansas, and Lincoln, Nebraska.

By the way, I'm posting this MTM extra early because I'm going to be way from the computer most of the day. I will post links when I can but most likely not until late this evening.

Links to other My Town Mondayers

Jenn Jilks has a bit of snowmobile trouble in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.

Monnik introduces us to small town life in Alleman, Iowa.

Lyzzydee frolics about in Welwyn Garden City, England's winter wonderland.

Chris takes on dragons in Hong Kong.

Debra fends off cabin fever in Village of Peninsula, Ohio.

Passage of Woman dips into the well in Kingston, Tennessee.

Barbara Martin takes us to school in Toronto, Canada.

Reb rocks along from Okotoks, Alberta, Canada.

Cloudia constructs another all pro post from Waikiki, Hawaii.

Chuck blogs of a church united in La Grange, Kentucky.

Paul Brazill looks at a Hartlepool, England icon.

Barrie Summy has a date in Indio, California.

Linda McLaughlin posts about the state of California's woeful budget.

J Winter compares the WKRP Cincinnati, Ohio to the version he now calls home.

Lauren elevates her Chicago, Illinois posts.

Clair Dickson spins the record from Livingston County, Michigan.

Clare2E hangs with superheroes at New York City's Comic Con.

Mary shows us that water isn't the only thing falling in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

39 comments:

Kristen Painter said...

Sorry, I got stuck on the size of that woman's boobs. Why would anyone do that to themselves?

Angie Ledbetter said...

Your MTM posts are always so interesting. (And in the case of the boob with the biggest boobs -- bigger def ain't better. eww)

Rebecca said...

You know...I used to live in Dalhart, and went to a few of those XIT bar-b-ques. Not bad if you're willing to wait in line forever (we never had to wait in line because Toby was a volunteer firefighter, and they always delivered the bar-b-que to the firehouse.

Lots of interesting history there. Like wasn't it just last year that they tried to move the XIT museum from Channing to Lubbock?

dizzblnd said...

This is what happen when people have low self esteem and more money than sense. That's just gross!

As for the history of the ranch, I had no idea! I love you MTM posts, I learn something new all the time.

Chris Eldin said...

Unable to get visual of exploding boobs out of my head....

That is quite a history! I love those kinds of stories. The ranch must've felt like it went on forever. That kind of space----makes me want to be out West, which is my ultimate dream.

Charles Gramlich said...

I realize how big Texas is most every year when I have to drive through half of it to get to Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains. I've also been to the state capitol in Austin and it is very nice. Strangely, I was telling someone about it just on Friday.

Jenn Jilks said...

We are having problems with snowmobiles here, Travis!

Bigger, faster, noisier isn't better.

Eric S. said...

We had a deer lease in Quanah, not far from Dalhart. Pretty baren coutry, but held a beauty uniquely it's own.

Could you imagine trying to ride fence or keep tabs on a large herd of cattle in those days. A huge piece of property would make it nearly impossible.

Monnik said...

Sounds like their greed ended up biting them in the rear... Great post, Travis. I finally wrote a MTM post today too. Shocker, I know!

Vodka Mom said...

Is someone over here talking about my boobs?


(Loved the post, Travis.....)

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'll be back again soon.

David Cranmer said...

Another great MTM from Texas.

lyzzydee said...

Great info Travis, I ended up watching a prog about inflated boobs last week, car crash tv, couldn't stop watching it.

My post will go up after midnight.

Sepiru Chris said...

This way be dragons (MTM):

http://e-cuneiform.blogspot.com/2009/02/dragons-in-street.html

debra said...

My post is up, Travis.

Passage of a Woman said...

So, while big boobs eventually just "hang" around, the XIT Ranch XITed (exited), huh? Sorry, I couldn't resist. An interesting story!

My MTM post is up.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Fascinating history, Travis. I love the Texas State Capitol; it's gorgeous. Can't say the same for the woman with the ginormous boobs though. The only word that comes to mind is grotesque. I've got a MTM post (OK, a rant) about the California budget crisis scheduled for midnight Pacific time.

Barbara Martin said...

My MTM post is up about a philanthropist.

Interesting story about the ranch Travis.

Teresa said...

I liked the story about the ranch, Travis, but I was wondering why you didn't provide a picture of the woman since your post started so provocatively...

Robin said...

Loved it! And if you notice on your map, the entire county that I live in (Parmer) was XIT land...the irony? Our county seat is Farwell! I learned something here, now I know where Farwell got it's name apparently! (I thought it was supposed to be "Farewell" to cilization but someone left the "e" out!)

Reb said...

My back hurts just looking at that woman!

Very clever exchange by the state! What would make anyone think they could maintain a ranch that size?

Mine is up.

Cloudia said...

Aloha Travis!
My post about another crazy week in Waikiki is up.

chuckmccky said...

My MTM:

http://chuckschatter.blogspot.com/2009/02/my-town-monday-church-now-united.html

"a Church Now United" is up

Paul Brazill said...

Hi Travis-just a quickie! To let you know that i posted a MY TOWN MONDAY.Cheers.Paul

Barrie said...

The world's largest free bar-b-que? Count me in! And...my MTM post is up: the National Date Festival in Indio, Ca. Thanks!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Thanks for voting for your favorite wiener. (no matter how I type that, it just sounds wrong!)

Hallie :)

Clair Dickson said...

Shoot, anyone who looked at that map of the ranch land could have figured out that there were going to be issues trying to protect all the borders. But I guess common sense doesn't always weigh into these decisions!

My MTM post is up now, Travis.

Lauren said...

Great post. That's such an amazingly huge parcel of land. Funny how it was closer to six other state capitols than it was to its own.

I wrote a MTM on Chicago's Elevated Train (http://bookintheoven.blogspot.com/2009/02/chicago-el.html)

Clare2e said...

Cool post, Travis. People like to come up with crafty ideas about the origins of things, but sometimes (like XIT), it's just expedience. I love stories like that, because it shows how random things can be.

Speaking of random chaos, I just posted our MTM from New York's Comic Con this weekend.

Stacy said...

I'm amazed by that woman's boobs. She must have so many chiropracters demanding her business.

Bina said...

Okay, I had to go look at the boob girl first, and HOLY MOLY!!! WHAT can you do with those things? Use them as a flotation device? GEEZ!

I can't even begin to imagine what owning 3,000,000 would be like. No wonder it didn't turn out well.

And free bbq?? I wish I could go, and that's just a few days before my birthday! That would be a great b-day present for me!

jerseygirl89 said...

The boob lady frightens me.

I always learn from your posts - though I could've skipped the lesson on the demented woman.

Lana Gramlich said...

That was interesting. I never knew about that trade & we visited the capitol building when we lived in Austin during Katrina!

laughingwolf said...

a true texas-sized tale, travis... thx :)

Michele said...

Dang, it's hard to imagine trying to run a ranch of that size. Yeah... nope, can't do it.

Cool post. :)

Josh said...

im gonna lie man, I look forward to the mTm posts, and you didnt dissapoint. :)

Beck said...

Texas is where my dad was always announcing he was going to move - Texas or Alaska.

I would love to do one of these posts, but I have no idea how I could do that and still be relatively incognito about where I am. Sigh.

Cheryl Wray said...

AS a native Texan, I gotta love this post!

Junosmom said...

I'm sorry I got off the MTM bandwagon. I've had a bad month. Of course, nothing like your bad month, but still time consuming. I'll try for this Monday.