top of page


The design plans for the Panhandle Inn aim to capture and preserve the rich history of the Panhandle Inn, while also allowing it to become a functional building that enhances the community. 
Proposed Site Plan
First Floor Plans
Second Floor Plans 



A $10,000 grant was received from the National Trust for Historic Preservation Fondren Preservation Services Fund for Texas to match local funds to help support the Architectural Master Plans, Feasibility Study & Concept Drawings Project.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation is very supportive of the Renovation of the Panhandle Inn.  The Panhandle Inn project was selected from a large number of qualified applicants competing for a very limited amount of funds.

Copied from "LOST, TEXAS", this is a very interesting history of Panhandle including the Panhandle Inn.





December 15, 2012Panhandleabandoned, architecture, building, Commercial, deterioration, history, Hotel, Panhandle,Panhandle Inn, ruins, Texas, Urbex One comment


Panhandle, the county seat of Carson County, is on U.S. Highway 60 in the south central part of the county.  It derives its name from its location in the Texas Panhandle and was initially named Carson City (for the county) and then later, Panhandle City.  The community obtained a post office in 1887 and was platted in January 1888 as the terminus of the Southern Kansas (Panhandle and Santa Fe) Railway, on a site almost surrounded by several large cattle ranches. Over the next few months Panhandle acquired a school, a mercantile store, a bank, a wagonyard, and three saloons.


In July 1887 Henry Harold Brookes began the PanhandleHerald (during the 1980s the region’s oldest extant newspaper).  Edward E. Carhart assisted Brookes in printing the Herald and also served as postmaster, banker, and druggist.  Many early settlers made extra money hauling bones of slaughtered buffalo to the railroad to be shipped east to fertilizer plants (see Bone Business).  


When Carson County was organized in 1888, Panhandle became the county seat, and a wooden frame courthouse was completed there. Subsequently, several law offices were opened at the community, and the colorful Temple L. Houston frequented Panhandle as an attorney for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Townsmen built an interdenominational community church building in 1892.  A sanatorium and several doctors’ offices made Panhandle a haven for health seekers.  The John Callaghan hotel hosted such distinguished guests as Buffalo Bill Cody and rancher Murdo Mackenzie.  


Frank N. Bishop managed the town’s ice and coal business and the grain elevators along the tracks.  At times as many as 65,000 cattle were held in the loading pens awaiting railroad shipment.  In 1897 the community was scandalized when the Methodist pastor, George E. Morrison, poisoned his wife because he was in love with another woman.  This murder, which received widespread attention, resulted in Morrison’s trial and subsequent execution on the gallows in Vernon in 1899.


By 1900 Panhandle had a population of 300. In 1909 the town voted to incorporate with a mayor-council government. By then it had several grain elevators, three churches, two banks, telephone service, and a population of 600. The oil boom of the 1920s brought its population level to 2,035 by 1930, and Panhandle became the center of a natural gas field.  During the 1920s and 1930s, Panhandle was home to the second largest shipping yard in the United States, second to Chicago.  


In 1924, Panhandle’s business leaders formed a committee to build a hotel intended to become “Panhandle’s Meeting Place” and indeed it did.  Designed by Amarillo architect E.F. Rittenberry and financed by General Ernest O. Thompson, an acknowledged leader in petroleum conservation, Panhandle Inn served business travelers associated with the oil, gas, and cattle industries.  Its unique pueblo revival-style architecture added to hotel’s prominence as a place to meet and do business during the oil boom.  The 20,000 square foot hotel also housed businesses such as a drug store, cafe, and barbershop.


Also during the 1920s boom, bonds were voted to install a modern water and sewage system, pave the streets, and provide utilities for the rapidly growing populace.  Consequently the onset of the Great Depression in 1932–33 almost caused the city to go bankrupt because of its inability to pay the interest on these bonds; though emergency measures were taken, not until 1965 did Panhandle entirely rid itself of its “Boom Bond” indebtedness.  


In 1934 the Southwest Race Meet and Agricultural Fair erected new buildings for the annual stock show in Panhandle. A new county courthouse was completed in 1950.


In the 1980s Panhandle continued to thrive as a regional marketing and shipping center for wheat, cattle, and petroleum products. Its population increased from 1,958 in 1960 to 2,226 in 1980.  Panhandle also had six churches, a modern school system, and a children’s home and a home for the aged, both run by the Catholic Church.


The Carson County Square House Museum, in Pioneer Park on State Highway 207, is considered one of the nation’s finest small museums.  Centered on the 1887 Square House, a small wooden frame residence with a rooftop captain’s walk, the museum complex also features pioneer implements, a Santa Fe caboose, a half-dugout, and a memorial exhibition dedicated to man’s quest for freedom. The Square House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


REFERENCE:  H. Allen Anderson, “PANHANDLE, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online(, accessed December 15, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.



Subscribe to Lost, Texas

  • RSS - Posts

Archived Posts

 Select Month  June 2014  (1)  May 2014  (1)  April 2014  (1)  March 2014  (2)  February 2014  (2)  January 2014  (1)  December 2013  (3)  November 2013  (1)  October 2013  (1)  September 2013  (2)  August 2013  (3)  July 2013  (1)  May 2013  (2)  April 2013  (3)  March 2013  (1)  February 2013  (4)  January 2013  (2)  December 2012  (5)  November 2012  (3)  October 2012  (1)  September 2012  (1)  August 2012  (2)  July 2012  (6)  June 2012  (1)  May 2012  (1)  April 2012  (4)  March 2012  (3)  February 2012  (4)  January 2012  (3)  December 2011  (2)  November 2011  (3)  July 2011  (1)  June 2011  (1)  May 2011  (1)  April 2011  (3)  March 2011  (3)  February 2011  (3) 


Customized McKinley Theme.

Blog at


bottom of page