Panhandle Ghost Community
Located six miles west of Alanreed,
Texas 1-40 Exit 132
Take service road west to County Road 19 - ½ mile south
in a Pecan Shell
Rockledge was named for the land survey known
as Rockwall School Land and because of the many steep rocky walls of nearby
canyons. First established as a side track for the Rock Island Railroad
because it was the only area of level land available on the track right-of-way.
The surrounding grasslands were parts of the Red River Cattle Company of
Texas and the famous Quarter Circle Heart Ranch swindled into bankruptcy
by Carhart and Sully in the early 1900s.
The site lay only one-hundred
yards inside the north line of Donley County and alongside the railroad track
with a county dirt road running alongside the track. A two-room clapboard house
sat to the west where the railroad section foreman lived. It was served by a cistern
filled from a water tank car on the railroad. A cross-tie storage shed, sporting
a dirt roof, stood nearby to store railroad supplies.
In about 1905,
two murders happened within seconds when a real estate agent from Amarillo
met with a local rancher and his son at Rockledge to discuss a financial problem.
The man from Amarillo stepped
off the train and waited for the rancher to arrive in a buggy. The local section
foreman and his tie crew were working nearby.
They two parties met, argued
and the Amarillo man drew a
pistol, shot the rancher and began running toward the railroad work crew. As the
rancher fell he ordered his son to shoot the running man. The son pulled a rifle
from the buggy and killed the running man. Both murders were witnessed by the
work crew which loaded the bodies on the next train going east.
a 10-inch petroleum pipe line was installed from the northern Panhandle
to south Texas with a booster camp built by the sidetrack at Rockledge. A huge
pump station, two large storage tanks and six homes were constructed on the site.
Later the engineers discovered it was downhill from Rockledge going south with
gravity doing most of the work. Three of the homes and half of the pumping capacity
was moved farther down the line.
In June of 1939, after Route
66 was paved just to the north of Rockledge, two young boys robbed the bank
in Alanreed, took 3,000
and fled west along Route 66
toward Amarillo. Just north
of Rockledge their car engine failed and the bandits fled into the nearby Rockwell
Canyons. A posse surrounded the canyons, capturing the boys in only three hours.
Mysteriously, only 1,500 was recovered. No one knows where the remainder of the
Three families lived at Rockledge until the mid-1980s
when automated controls were installed on the pumping equipment. Today, another
pipeline has been added to the original, one tank has been removed and a police
radio tower marks the site. Only foundations and dead trees mark the location
of this ghost community. It is on private property.
Ranch hosted Rockledge rail site
by Delbert Trew
1900 to 1902, Rock Island Railroad built tracks from Oklahoma to Tucumcari, N.M.
From today’s Jericho to Alanreed, the track followed Old Trail’s Ridge, dividing
the Salt Fork of the Red River and McClellan Creek watersheds. It also was the
early day mail route from Old Clarendon to Mobeetie.... more
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