Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't Make Me Pinch Ya -- A My Town Monday Post


The Texas Panhandle isn't known for it's greenery. Unless it has rained in the last few days, the landscape is generally a mixture of browns and yellows.

But there is one town over on the eastern edge of the panhandle that is green year round -- Shamrock, Texas.

Okay, so the grass in and around Shamrock might be just as parched and yellow as most of the other places, but the town revels in it's Irish name to such an extent that it's greener than Al Gore.

And every year, right around St. Patrick's Day, the rural community of about 2000 hosts a two day celebration with concerts, an arts and craft show, parade, carnival, motorcycle rally, car, show, the crowning of a new Miss Irish Rose, the Lad ‘n’ Lassie Beauty Pageant, and my favorite the Donegal Beard Contest. (A Donegal beard is basically a big bushy beard without the accompaniment of a mustache.)

One of these days I'm going to give it a whirl and enter this as I am part Sasquatch and can grow a fine mess of facial hair. Much to my wife, Jennifer's chagrin.

Shamrock, Texas was given its name by Irish immigrant, George Nickel, who wanted to open post office in 1890. His post office was never opened, but Mary Jones opened and ran one for a short time using Mr. Nickel's chosen name. In 1902 the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway set up a station in the town, calling it "Wheeler" after the county in which Shamrock resides, but the railroad eventually changed it to the original name of Shamrock in 1903. And it's been all about four leaf clovers ever since.

The old original Route 66 ran through Shamrock and of the the most recognizable architectural landmarks of that era sits in the town.


You may recognize it as the inspiration for Ramone's Body Shop in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.


Actually the building was the U-Drop Inn. Built in 1936 it was designed by J.C. Berry. The U-Drop Inn fell into disrepair with the decommissioning of Route 66, and closed in the 90s, but funded by a 1.7 million dollar federal grant, the city hired a firm specializing in historical renovation to restore the building and adapt it into a museum, visitors' center, gift shop, and the city's chamber of commerce.

For more My Town Monday Links please visit Jenn Jilks as she is taking over the hosting duties for me this week. If you have a link you wish to add please visit her blog and leave a comment to let her know.

14 comments:

Teresa said...

Very interesting. I never think of Irish when I think of Texas. I would like to see you in a Donegal beard, Travis. Will you grow one for next year and keep a record in your posts?

Reb said...

Lovely building, I am always pleased when cities recognize and retain unique architecture.

bunnygirl said...

My husband and I drove through there a few years ago when we did a Route 66 drive. Very cool.

Linda McLaughlin said...

What a beautiful old building. That is Art Deco, isn't it? I'm glad they restored it. Maybe next year you can shave your mustache and enter the contest. :)

debra said...

It's great that Shamrock saved and restored the building. Too often these gems are torn down.
So next year, you, sporting your Donegal beard will be O'Travis?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too. Texas just doesn't seem like a place I'd associate with the Irish. In Michigan, it's huge.

I'll have one tomorrow morning if I type fast.

Mary said...

Beautiful building. I loved traveling Rt. 66.

Barrie said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Shamrock, Texas? Who knew?!

Barbara Martin said...

Interesting post, but then the Irish are everywhere.

Sepiru Chris said...

Chris' MTM is found here...

your other wife said...

Fasinating who knew? Where do you get such info? When did you have time to post while we were slaving at your house? Hahaha

Clare2e said...

I love the pictures and all things Shamrocky.

Paul Brazill said...

What a smashing building.

Jerseygirl89 said...

I can't believe there's a town called Shamrock in Texas.

I would encourage you to enter the beard contest, except that I have too much sympathy for Jennifer's feelings.