History in a Pecan
Halsell, owner of the Mashed O Ranch, was happy to see a railroad shipping point
arrive here in 1913 as part of the Pecos and Northern Texas Railroad.
The townsite was laid out in 1923 and the town-to-be was named for Amherst College
in Massachusetts by one of the railroad officers.
A post office opened
the following year and by 1930 the number of residents neared 1,000. Amherst’s
pride was their hotel. It became a popular stopping point for travelers between
Lubbock and Clovis, New Mexico.
Great Depression reduced the population and the 1940 Census showed 749 residents.
The town wasn’t incorporated until 1970 when the population was recorded at just
over 800. It increased to 971 for the 1980 census. It was reported at 742 for
1990 and 791 in the year 2000.
of Amherst" Historical Marker >
Amherst Historical Marker on FM 37 next to Amherst city hall|
Gibson, August 2009
in 1913 as a cattle-shipping point on Pecos and Northern Texas Railroad. Served
the 300,000-acre Spring Lake Ranch, which was established in 1902 by W.E. "Colonel
Bill" Halsell (1850-1934) and his son Ewing Halsell (1877-1965). According to
local tradition the shipping point was named for Amherst College, Mass., alma
mater of one of the railway officials.
When, in 1923, the economy of the
High Plains began to switch from ranching
to farming, the Halsells divided much of their land to sell to the influx of new
settlers. Farms could be bought for $25 an acre.
They set aside land at
the railroad depot for a town and donated lots for a school and churches. First
permanent building was the Amherst Hotel, built by Halsell Land Company for prospective
buyers and visitors. It also had space for a bank, general store, and office.
For years it was the most popular hotel between Clovis, NM and Lubbock,
The first general store was opened in 1923, a post office in 1924,
and the First National Bank in 1925. The town's first newspaper was the "Argus".
By 1930 Amherst had a population of 964. Today (1972) citizens number 835 and
the economy is based on cotton and grain, hog
raising and cattle feeding.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos of their town, please contact
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