History

Old Tascosa: One-Time Texas Boom Town, Long-Time Human Services Site

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Providing an easy crossing of the Canadian River back in the days of large cattle drives, the community of Old Tascosa was formerly known as the “Cowboy Capital of the Plains.” This Texas Panhandle community drew quite the assortment of characters from the frontier, good and bad alike, settlers, Native Americans, Mexicans, lawmen, and of course, outlaws. While the first permanent settlement was established by Mexican sheepherders in 1876, it was the arrival of Charles Goodnight and his masses of livestock that inspired a thriving populace. Old Tascosa rapidly grew into a rowdy boomtown of sorts, attracting entrepreneurs and outlaws alike.

Old Tascosa: One-Time Texas Boom Town, Long-Time Human Services Site

Photo: Facebook/Texas for Texans Via Charles Tankersley

With a lack of restraint and authority, conflicts were settled one-on-one, mostly through gunfights, resulting in a long list of bodies, many of whom were still wearing their boots. The consequence was the development of their own cemetery named “Boot Hill,” after the famous Dodge City, Kansas graveyard. Despite its notorious past, Boot Hill Cemetery today provides the perfect stop for heritage travelers and picnickers, all the same, offering a blend of Texas history, a colorful past, and a peaceful place to sit a spell.

Old Tascosa: One-Time Texas Boom Town, Long-Time Human Services Site

Photo: Facebook/THE GOLDEN SPREAD HISTORY Via Johnny Duke

With the introduction of fencing, Old Tascosa’s success and prosperity was cut short. It was the early 1880s, and the speed of its decline would catch the community by surprise. Its courthouse, which was a newly built sandstone conglomeration in 1884, had once served 12 of the outlying communities, but by the late 1800s, the community was completely isolated from the rest of the world by all of the fencing that took place. At the same time, the railroad had arrived, laying tracks in miles either way. The citizens abandoned Old Tascosa and moved to the tracks, leaving the courthouse and the county seat to dissipate.

Old Tascosa: One-Time Texas Boom Town, Long-Time Human Services Site
Photo: Facebook/Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch

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