in a Pecan Shell
The town was named
for Texas legislator, judge and (at that time a newly appointed) railroad
commissioner, William Pinckney McLean (1836-1925). McLean grew up
around a water well drilled by the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Texas Railroad
Company in 1901.
English rancher Alfred Rowe laid out a townsite and mail service began
with the opening of the McLean post office in 1902.
Two years later McLean was thriving with stores, wagonyards, a lumberyard,
livery stables and its own newspaper, modestly named the McLean News.
A well in Main Street was the towns first infrastructure - outfitted
with a windmill the water was hauled to households by the barrel.
McLean made efforts (in 1908 and 1919) to replace Lefors
as the Gray County Seat. The rivalry was settled when the oil boom
made Pampa the county's dominant city.
By 1940 the population was around 1,500 and in 1943 a German
P.O.W. Camp was built, providing some jobs for the town -
but having the unforeseen negative effect at having local women marry
American guards and move away.
By 1948 the Camp was reduced to only foundations and today an airfield
cuts across the former camp center.
Amarillo has drained
off McLeans population over the years - reducing the number of McLean
citizens to only 1,183 in 1970.
Book Hotel Here > Amarillo
|The Avalon Theater
Old Postcard courtesy Delbert Trew
Bro's Livery, McLean, Texas"
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
|The O'Dell Hotel,
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
is fortunate to have a very active group of preservation-minded citizens
that have restored two historic gasoline service stations (The First
66 station outside of Oklahoma and a 1932 Texaco station) as well
as the Avalon Theater downtown.
A former garment factory now provides space for twin museums. One,
Rope Museum is a tribute to barbed wire and it's indisputable
importance and the other is devoted to Texas'
portion of the fabled highway - Route 66.
The Prisoner of War
Camp was acknowledged by the dedication of a historical marker
Delbert Trew, Panhandle rancher, historian, and columnist, has written
a most informative book on the McLean P.O.W. Camp comprised of interviews,
photos, and most importantly, the memories of those who had some connection
to the camp back in the 40s. The book is now in it's fourth printing.
Trew is also the author of the R.O. Ranch - a history of ranch and
the Englishman owner R. O. Rowe - the man who platted the town of
McLean and died under unusual circumstances
P.O.W. Camp by Delbert Trew
Creek offered unique privileges by Delbert Trew
"Early residents along Pederson Creek just west of McLean enjoyed
two privileges most other settlers did not have..."
look at wash day from early to modern by Delbert Trew
"...David Bowerman of Amarillo asked whether I knew some of
his relatives who operated a laundry or "wash-a-teria" in early
McLean. When the question was presented to our coffee shop locals,
we heard some interesting facts and stories about this most important
|A souvenir postcard
TE postcard archives
Gracey School near McLean Texas
My name is Jim Gracey and my grandfather was James Rush Gracey (b
1858 d. 1938) who worked on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle. I remember
as a small boy (circa 1940) going to visit a brick school house
near McLean Texas that was named "Gracey School". There were even
school busses with the name Gracey on it. I have been searching
my parents old photographs to find a picture but have been unsuccessful.
The story I remember was that J. R. Gracey had something to do with
founding the school and that was why it was named after him. I have
no idea if the building still exists. I would appreciate any information
you may have or any suggestions for further research. - Jim Gracey,
July 06, 2005
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