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