Lynn County, West
Just North of the Dawson County line
Halfway between Lamesa
45 miles S of Lubbock
sign in O’Donnell, Texas, advertising the Dan Blocker Museum. Just
south of Lubbock this
sign is difficult to miss or ignore. After driving through the mid-summer
greened, hyper-corrected kaleidoscope of cotton crop rows for close
to an hour it is impossible not to notice this television icon hanging
on the side of what seems to be an abandoned cotton gin." - Byron
Browne, July 2007 photo
A statue of Dan
Blocker, a member of the Cartwright Clan on television's Bonanza,
stands in the park downtown. The town also features Blockerbilia in
an exhibit in the O'Donnell Museum - right across the street
from the statue. The number given us by City Hall for the O'Donnell
museum was that of Harold Hahn 806-428-3708.
O'Donnell was lucky to have such a son represent them - even though
Nevada took the credit.
Chamber of Commerce: (City Hall) 806-428-3239
Dan Blocker Museum in O’Donnell, Texas. A misnomer. As the curator
informed me it is not solely the Dan Blocker museum but rather there
is simply a Dan
Blocker area to the museum of artifacts which came from the “attics
and backyards” of locals dating back to the 19th century. If you wish
to pay the “Gentle Giant” respects, you’ll need to travel to Dekalb,
Texas-that is where he was both born and buried." - Byron Browne,
July 2007 photo
Phillips, first merchant of O'Donnell, 1911
Photo Courtesy Pamela Mathiasen
a Pecan shell
O'Donnell has no 19th Century history to speak of. It became a stop
on the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railroad in 1908 and like many
railroad towns, was named after a railroad official.
Texas or "Let us know if there's a change in Mr. Looney's condition."
I was sitting in a remote beach bar in "Old Mexico" (We called it
"Old Mexico" due to our proximity to "New Mexico" lest anyone become
confused). Over a margarita, I struck up a conversation with an
ex-O'Donneller...O'Donnellite...whatever. He asked me if I knew
O'Donnell, and of course, anyone worth their salt from West Texas
knows O'Donnell equals Dan Blocker, not to mention the old silo
visible from the hi-way.
My experience with O'Donnell began with a chance meeting with one
of Texas finest, who stopped me just to say hello...and give me
a ticket for going 85 mph. That chance meeting provided me with
the phone number of the Justice of the Peace there in town. About
a week later, I dutifully called the Judge from Lamesa during a
gasoline stop to find out how to get to his office. He gave the
standard West Texas directions that involved THE silo, the gin,
a fork in the road and the local bank. I could have just mailed
in my fine, but I have learned to never pass up an opportunity to
meet West Texans on their home turf. Therefore, I decided to contest
my ticket, even though I was guilty as sin.
I explained my situation to the Judge, and he pointed out that I
would, of course, need to take my case to the highest court in the
county "up at Tahoka". We talked for the better part of an hour
and a half and and bonded as only West Texans can do in such a short
period of time. As I was leaving, he called out to me with what
has become a well-worn family quote about people we don't know.
He asked "Don't you live up at Lubbock?"
"Yes, sir. I do" I said.
"Do you know a feller up there by the name of Charlie Looney?"
"No, sir." I responded. "I don't think I do. What does Mr. Looney
do up at Lubbock?"
After a thoughtful pause he responded "Well...right now...he's dead."
I suspected that perhaps Charlie might someday get a better deal,
but just not...right now. - H. Legg, Somewhere in West Texas,
August 16, 2006
Just a note to say how pleased we were to see the old mercantile
store owned by LG Phillips in your article about O'Donnell, Texas.
LG was my husband's great grandfather and this coming weekend, here
in Redmond, Oregon, we are having the great Phillips Family Reunion.
There will be over 200 there, from all parts of the country. We
have lots of old photos to share, and stories to tell. Thanks! -
Susan & Roger Phillips, June 26, 2006
was the first town to have a fully automatic cotton gin in
North America. The Farmer's Coop
owned the cotton gin but I don't remember the date it became automated.
I believe it was the early to mid 60's.
The Old Blocker Grocery Store was in the middle of the West
side of center square. I remember when I was young that someone
broke into the Blocker Store and took off with the safe. If you
go to the museum you will get more information in an hour than you
can put on a computer in a day.
Did you know that Bobby
Dan Blocker was an English major? That is one of the things
that got him an acting job. He also had hands that were three times
larger than mine. For a long time Dan would come to O'Donnell for
the Rodeo, and I remember once he flew into Lubbock and drove into
town in the brightest red Mustang you had ever seen. This was funny
because Bonanza's sponsor was Chevrolet." - Charles Thompson
(Mr. OHS 1970)
Our thanks to Mr. Charles. Thompson for recommending O'Donnell,
Texas. Our additional thanks for writing back to include the type
of little things we live to know
Our thanks to Ms Pamela Mathiasen for the vintage photo from her
family archives. For more information on L.G. Phillips, the first
merchant of O'Donnell, please go to http://www.rootsweb.com/~txlynn/lg_phillips.htm
Anyone having details about the infamous Blocker Store burglary
let us know. It seems we once heard something amusing about it falling
off the back of the thief's truck. Contact