TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map


Columns




Counties
Texas Counties


Texas Towns
A - Z

 


Texas | Columns | "It's All Trew"

Higgins was
stage station

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
At most settlements in the Llano Estacado, buffalo hide hunters were the first Anglos to camp or pause for a spell at the site. From 1873 to 1878, hunters hunted illegally in the eastern Texas/Oklahoma panhandles, which was supposedly Indian Territory.

In 1874, one of the area's first settlements was established as a resting place for hunters and travelers going south from Fort Supply. The stop was called The Commission Creek Stage Station and known locally as Polly's Hotel.

After Fort Elliott was established in 1875, creating a new military road to Fort Supply, the future of the Stage Station seemed assured. Further promises for the future arrived as a mail route began passing through the settlement, which was sold and renamed The Latham House.

All bets on the future evaporated when in 1887, the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad laid track four miles north of the Stage Station, naming the new settlement Higgins in honor of a wealthy railroad stockholder. In 1888, The Latham House closed and was moved to the new town site of Higgins. Immediately, the Commission Creek Stage Station became a ghost town.

Like all early and some later settlements in the Panhandle, railroads and highways made or condemned the sites without regard to the people and investments involved. During the Big Ranch Era, when "checker-board" settlement was devised, the state gave the railroads 32 million acres of land to encourage building new trackage in the Panhandle. Most of this acreage was bare, unsettled, unsurveyed prairie.

The land making up today's Lipscomb County was divided and given to three railroad companies with all odd-numbered sections going to the railroads and even numbered sections kept by the state to sell to provide money for the State Education Fund. As the land sold and the population grew, Lipscomb residents banded together and were able to retain their county seat of Lipscomb. Higgins lost its bid for county seat to Canadian, which organized in 1887 and named new county Hemphill in honor of Judge John Hemphill.

For every small settlement bypassed and condemned to die by the railroads, another settlement was usually created. This was because the tracks always needed repair and section repair crews needed to live near their respective section. Telegraph signals of the time would not travel far without re-amplification, so settlements were needed every few miles of track for many purposes. Most of these settlements were built at a convenient sidetrack.

These sidetrack locations became especially attractive to local ranchers who needed loading facilities for their livestock. Higgins eventually acquired large livestock loading facilities along with a livestock sale barn, all of which contributed to its reputation as an important shipping point in the eastern Panhandle. By 1888, the town had two saloons, three hotels and other businesses to serve the cowboys who brought the livestock to town.

The progression from The Commission Creek Stage Station in 1874 to the modern-day town of Higgins is an extremely interesting saga of Panhandle of Texas history.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" May 14, 2007 Column

Related Topics:
Texas Ranching
Texas Towns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
Texas Counties
Texas Towns A-Z
Texas Ghost Towns

TEXAS REGIONS:
Central Texas North
Central Texas South
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Panhandle
Texas Hill Country
East Texas
South Texas
West Texas

Courthouses
Jails
Churches
Schoolhouses
Bridges
Theaters
Depots
Rooms with a Past
Monuments
Statues

Gas Stations
Post Offices
Museums
Water Towers
Grain Elevators
Cotton Gins
Lodges
Stores
Banks

Vintage Photos
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
Old Neon
Ghost Signs
Signs
Murals
Gargoyles
Pitted Dates
Cornerstones
Then & Now

Columns: History/Opinion
Texas History
Small Town Sagas
Black History
WWII
Texas Centennial
Ghosts
People
Animals
Food
Music
Art

Books
Cotton
Texas Railroads

Texas Trips
Texas Drives
Texas State Parks
Texas Rivers
Texas Lakes
Texas Forts
Texas Trails
Texas Maps
USA
MEXICO
HOTELS

Site Map
About Us
Privacy Statement
Disclaimer
Contributors
Staff
Contact Us

 
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved