History of Canyon Texas
Canyon of Yesterday
Humble Roots of Ranching
The small town of Canyon, TX, located south of Amarillo, TX, was formally incorporated in 1906. Yet, the first industry, Pecos & Northern Railroad, was established in 1898 for shipping cattle from Randall County. In 1910, West Texas State Normal College was established. Seven short years later, this same college became a degree-granting institution.
In 1921, the university assisted with the formation of the Panhandle Plain Historical Society. Then, in 1933, the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum was founded. This particular museum is now considered to be the largest state supported museum in the entire state of Texas. The local college in Canyon went through several name changes over the span of 80 years. The latest change, West Texas A & M University (WTAMU), was instituted in 1990. The 176-acre campus provides a variety of events and activities for students, visitors, and community members.
Georgia O’Keeffe in Canyon
“The Mother of American Modernism”
One of the most famous residents of Canyon, TX was Georgia O’Keeffe. She was an American modernist artist who lived in Canyon from 1916-1918. It is widely believed that her signature style was developed while she taught and chaired the art department at West Texas State Normal College.
Her love for sunrises and sunsets inspired her to experiment with capturing the effects of colors and lighting on the Texas Panhandle horizon. A landscape watercolor painting that she created while living in Canyon was titled “Light Coming in on the Plains.” She found more inspiration from her daily walks around the college campus, the surrounding area of her residence, or throughout Palo Duro Canyon.
Things to Do in Canyon, TX
From Rustic Adventures to Relaxing Respite
Located just 15 minutes south of Amarillo, TX, Canyon is a charming city that is rich in history and bustling with innovation for the future. This small community-focused city is home to West Texas A & M University and the oldest and largest historical museum located in the Lone Star state, the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. It is also known for its community events that are held both on and off of the University’s campus.
With the beautiful climate in Canyon, there are many outdoor activities for residents and guests to participate in. The most recent recreational facility is the Canyon Aqua Park (CAP). This park boasts 300 acres of land, which includes a 6-acre lake. There is a Lazy River, 6 Lane Lap Pool, Children’s Pool, Lesson/Plunge Pool, 2 Body Slides, a Spray Feature, and plenty of shade structures to relax under.
Of course, the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” is a popular spot to visit for more outdoor fun. This canyon features more than 30 miles of trail for bikers, hikers, walkers, runners, and horseback riders to enjoy. Visitors can take advantage of the designated campsites, tent sites, equestrian sites, cabins, or pavilions located within the park. If you visit during the summer months, you can catch an outdoor presentation of “TEXAS Outdoor Musical,” performed at the Pioneer Amphitheater.
If you are looking for dining options or retail therapy, plan a visit to Canyon’s Downtown Dining District or the Shops on Fifth Avenue. You will find a variety of antique and boutique stores, as well as a wide selection of different cuisines from around the world. The vibrant downtown scene also offers seasonal events, such as live music concerts, a Farmer’s Market, an Annual Sip & Swirl, and Visits with Santa. There really is something for everyone!