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CANADIAN RIVER, TEXAS

Canadian river and oil wells, Canadian, Texas 1920s
"A pretty view showing the Canadian River in the Background."
1920s vintage photo courtesy Ken Sharpe

The Naming of Canadian River

Where did the name for the Canadian River originate? Take your pick. Some believe it came from early French traders from Canada on a hunting expedition. One historian wrote in 1929 that, later, French explorers named it while camped where the river runs into the Arkansas River.

Other believe the word is of Spanish origin, derived from the word "canada," meaning canyon. This is because much of the river runs through deep canyons. - From "Bits, pieces on odds, ends" by Delbert Trew
Oil wells, Canadian River, Canadian, Texas 1920s
"Strange Locations of Oil Wells in Canadian River"
1920s vintage photo courtesy Ken Sharpe

Photographer's Note:
Subject: Canadian River

These shots are of the Canadian River valley traveling from Dumas, Texas to Amarillo (in Potter County). You can see Amarillo on the far horizon (to the South). The river has carved its way through the otherwise flat plains in a million different channels. The road is U.S. 287/87 which is the main road from Texas through the Panhandle to Denver and other points North.

The Canadian River today is often just a small stream thanks to the many dams on the river and its tributaries in New Mexico, but even a short rainstorm can fill its banks.

The Canadian River is now an important recreation area for off-roaders, hikers, and hunters. To the east of these views, the river flows into Lake Meredith, which is an important source of drinking water and recreation. - Tom Jones, December 24, 2007
Canadian River Valley North of Amarillo, US287
Photo courtesy Tom Jones
Canadian River Bridges
Hutchinson County Tx Canadian River Bridge
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2007
Canadian River Bridge Hutchinson County
Canadian River Wagon Bridge, Canadian, Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008
Canadian River Wagon Bridge
More About The Canadian River
Canadian River was watery trap by Delbert Trew
Almost every early day description, narrative and historical note written about the Canadian River uses the words "dangerous," "treacherous," "quicksand" and "death." Whether man, beast or wagon was involved, the river often took its toll...

Head-rises wiped out frontier towns by Delbert Trew
A head-rise is a wall of water, either small or large, brought on by a heavy downpour of rain upstream. A head-rise may occur on a down-sloping cow trail, ranch road, arroyo, canyon, creek or river. A head-rise can even occur down a wide flat draw if enough rain falls quickly...

Our ranch bordering the Canadian River continually suffered from erosion and damage caused by head-rises and flooding.

Miles of fences were destroyed and acres of riverbanks lands were washed away down the river.

We prowled the river banks after each flooding looking for posts, telephone and REA poles washed down by the water.

Once we found a nice wooden bridge which we took apart and used to build new corals.

Always, we had to watch for tangles of barbed wire, mad, wet rattlesnakes and quicksand in the bayous.

Almost overnight after a head-rise, the wet muddy river bottoms became dry again and the red sands began sifting with the winds.

It was a never-changing pattern.
more

More Texas Rivers
1940s Texas Panhandle map showing the Canadian River
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
1940s Texas Panhandle map showing the Canadian River
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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Amarillo Hotels
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