Olney Texas History:
Cattle ranchers Boone McCarty, L. Pankonon, and the Neely brothers settled in the area in 1879-1880. Pitts Neal and the Neelys established a site for the area ranchers’ annual cattle roundups. The two acre townsite was donated by John W. Groves in 1889. J. M. Brisco built the townsite’s first store. The Olney post office was established after G. W. Hutchings agreed to bring the mail from the Farmer post office. The first school was established in 1891. In 1909, the Wichita Falls and Southern Railway built a line north of town, and residents and businesses moved one mile north to be closer to the railroad. The town incorporated that same year. The opening of the Swastika Oil Pool in 1924 caused major town growth. By 1930, Olney had three refineries and 5,000 residents. Today, agriculture and manufacturing are important industries. Olney is located at the intersections of SH 79, SH 114, SH 251 and several Farm Roads, 34.6 miles southeast of Seymour, 18 miles southwest of Archer City, 43 miles southwest of Wichita Falls, 38 miles northwest of Jacksboro, 51 miles northwest of Graford, 35 miles northwest of Possum Kingdom Lake, 25.4 miles northwest of Graham, 58 miles northeast of Breckenridge, and 30 miles northeast of Throckmorton, Texas.
Texas Plains Trail Region:
The 52-county Texas Plains Trail Region includes the Texas Panhandle and Plains. It stretches from the Texas towns of Big Spring and Colorado City in the southern portion of the region, to Muleshoe and the New Mexico state border in the west, to Quanah and Knox City in the east, and to the top of the Texas Panhandle, from Dalhart in the west to Lipscomb in the east. The Texas Plains Trail Region organization is a nonprofit heritage tourism organization affiliated with the Texas Historical Commission. TPTR acts as an economic development initiative that helps Texas communities to promote their historic and cultural resources, and increase tourism to their areas. The organization helps promote travel to heritage destinations and historic sites. A name repeatedly mentioned in the history of West Texas is Cynthia Ann Parker, a young child captured during a raid on Fort Parker. She grew up among the Comanches, married Comanche chief Peta Nocona, and had three children, Pecos, Quanah and Prairie Flower. In 1860, a party of Texas Rangers led by Sul Ross, a future governor of Texas, rescued her and her infant daughter Prairie Flower; Charles Goodnight participated in this raid. Her son Quanah became famous as the last great war chief of the Comanche. One of TPTR’s most visible recent projects is the Quanah Parker Trail
. When the project is completed, giant Quanah Parker arrow markers will have been installed in all 52 counties in the Texas Plains Trail Region. Some counties will have more than one installation. The arrows were created and donated by New Home, Texas, artist Charles Smith. As of early 2014, over 70 arrows had been installed in almost 50 counties. Each arrow will have a plaque giving pertinent historical information. (806) 747-1997. P.O. Box 88, Lubbock, Texas 79408. Email Plains Trail Map
Air Brush Painted Murals by Bill Ines:
Artist Bill Ines
has painted fabulous murals in Olney’s Gazebo Park and in many other area communities such as Seymour Texas.
The airport features three long runways built during WWII as a landing site for bombers from Shepard Air Force Base. One lighted strip is a mile long and has 24 hour radio contact. In the month of September, Air Acrobatics teams (Olympic hopefuls and winners alike) come to Olney to practice their loops, dives and other in-air maneuvers. Air Tractor, a maker of Ag planes, is located at the airport. The airport is owned by the City of Olney. (940) 564-2102. From Olney go three miles southwest on Airport Road.
Historic Fort Belknap & Photos, Newcastle, TX:
Built in 1851, Fort Belknap was one in a string of 8 forts established on the western frontier of Texas from the Rio Grande River to the Red River to protect settlers from hostile Indians. The fort was gradually dismantled for building materials; by 1936 only the magazine and a portion of the corn house remained. In 1936 six of the fort’s buildings were rebuilt, mostly on their original foundations. The former infantry barracks is now used as a community center. The fort’s archives are located in the museum and visitor center building. The adjacent Fort Belknap Regional Park features picnic tables. The fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Historical Landmark. Open daily 9am-5pm; closed Wednesdays. (940) 846-3222. 135 Belknap Circle. The fort is located 11 miles west of Graham, 12 miles south of Olney, and 3 miles south of Newcastle, Texas off FM 61. Newcastle Texas Map
Olney Community Library & Arts Center:
The Oley Library is a joint venture with the Olney ISD. Hours are seasonal. 607 W. Hamilton Street. (940) 564-5513.
Olney Annual Events:
Events include the April City Wide Garage Sale, April, the MayFest Family Fun Festival, June music in the gazebo, the One Arm Dove Hunt the 1st
Weekend after Labor Day, an October city wide garage sale, the Halloween parade and costume contest on October 31st
, and the 1st
Thursday of December Christmas Luminary Night, an evening of entertainment, carriage rides and shopping.
Annual One Arm Dove Hunt in Olney, Texas, 1stWeekend after Labor Day, Sept:
This event is billed as the most unusual event in Texas. It has been held since 1972. Anyone who has one arm may participate in this hunt. Visitors arrive from around the nation and from other countries. Activities include the dove hunt, food, live music, a two day auction, a glove swap, one arm jokes, a one arm golf tournament, cow chip chunk’n, lunch, a ten cents a finger breakfast, dominoes for those not hunting, and a country skeet shoot contest. P.O. Box 582, Olney, Texas. (940) 564-5445. Olney is located 23.4 miles northwest of Graham, Texas. Email Wall Street Journal Article Onley Texas Map
Gandy’s Chicken & Bar-B-Que Restaurant:
Texas Monthly listed them among the top ten restaurants in Texas for chicken fried steak. (940) 564-3539. 122 W Main Street, Olney. Reviews
Iron Trail Steak House, Archer City, TX:
Make reservations. (940) 574-2447. 114 South Sycamore Street. Reviews