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T Anchor Ranch

The remnants of a ranch

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The oldest Anglo-built structure in the Panhandlenow rests permanently on the museum grounds: the two-room log cabin headquarters of the historic T Anchor Ranch. Originally located in the Spring Draw north of Canyon (between the WTAMU Horse Center and Kimbrough Memorial Stadium), the cabin was moved piece-by-piece to its PPHM location in 1975, narrowly avoiding a potentially damaging flood.

The T Anchor Ranch dates back to 1877, when Leigh R. Dyer, a brother-in-law of Charles Goodnight, drove 400 cattle to Randall County near the junction of Palo Duro and Tierra Blanca creeks. Helped by his brother, Walter, the two men cut juniper logs to build this breezeway-connected cabin.

The ranch itself would prove to be an influential one in the area. In 1881, T Anchor Ranch became the Panhandle’s first to utilize barbed-wire fencing, which dramatically changed how ranchers tracked their herds. In 1882, the first political convention in Randall County was held at the ranch in honor of A.L. Matlock, who ran for State Senate that year. And in 1883, the headquarters played a central role in a heated cowboy strike between dissatisfied hands and ranch management. Fearing a takeover by force, ranch manager Jule Gunter filled a keg with horseshoes and dynamite, intending to blow the cabin apart if necessary.

Thankfully, the matter was resolved. In 1927, the headquarters was purchased by West Texas State Teachers College and used as an agricultural dorm—complete with the original dirt floor. The cabin belonged to the college/university until it was donated to our permanent collection.
 
 
 
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