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The Quanah Parker Trail: A Unique Road Trip Through Texas’ Past

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Texas travelers looking for the Quanah Parker Trail won’t have a hard time recognizing its points of interest. In the history and tradition of great Texas roadside stops and sites, the Trail is marked by giant roadside arrows crafted of steel, standing more than 20 feet in height. Accented with bands of red, yellow, and blue, the arrows are placed at strategic locations in the Texas Plains, sponsored by the Texas Plains Trail Region and mark integral locations in Quanah Parker’s history.

The Quanah Parker Trail: A Unique Road Trip Through Texas’ Past

Photo: Wikimedia

Designed by sculptor Charles Smith, the arrows were commissioned by the Texas Plains Trail Region to mark the sites within a 52-county area of Texas which is designed as a road trip guide with respect to Parker’s life and significant events. For those of you who may yet be unfamiliar, Quanah Parker was a Comanche Chief and a Texas legend. Born the son of a Comanche leader named Peta Nocona and white captive Cynthia Ann Parker, who spent years with the Comanche tribe. Approximately a year after the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, as well as final skirmishes in the Red River War, Quanah Parker, and his Band, surrendered at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1875. Over the next 35 years, he continued to represent his Nation and also became recognized as a statesman, a rancher, and a Native American Church leader. Parker had led the Comanches into a time of assimilation and compromise, and his connection to the Texas Plains Trail Region is strong, with ripple effects that can still be felt today.

The Quanah Parker Trail: A Unique Road Trip Through Texas’ Past

Photo: Facebook/Kent County Nursing Home

The design and development of the Quanah Parker Trail are meant to explore this man’s life and legacy as well as his influence throughout the region. Places where key moments along his timeline of historical significance in Texas are marker points, such as Spur and Copper Breaks State Park, where he and his people were known to have lived. Of interesting note, the Spur-Dickens County Museum holds a headdress on display that is thought to have belonged to Parker. And the town of Quanah, which is named on behalf of the Chief, also features an arrow near its historic business district. Here, a granite tribute to the Parker is situated in the downtown square, and a 1938 mural called “The Naming of Quanah” is visible in the lobby of the Quanah Post Office. His legacy is also documented in detail there at the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railroad Museum. The Trail also sponsors arrow dedication ceremonies and regional celebrations, for which a complete schedule of events is provided on its website, along with the road trip driving map. For a Texas-sized road trip to remember, check out the Quanah Parker Trail through the Texas Plains Trail Region. It’s a journey teaching us all about the life and times of this Native American leader that led to the design of modern-day Texas.