Friday, December 28, 2018

A Brief History of Hereford College (1)

"Hereford Will Soon Be the Educational Center of the Plains." The headline of the local newspaper for July 19, 1901, captured some of the excitement. The leaders of Hereford, a northwest Texas town named after a sturdy breed of beef cattle, were nothing if not ambitious. Now, they had a new ally.

As the paper explained, Randolph Clark had recently visited Hereford at the invitation of G. R. Jowell, a prominent local rancher and surveyor for the town. Clark, a long-time educator and preacher among the Christian churches, had changed his mind about Hereford. Before his visit, "the idea of a college at this point or in this section of the country" never entered his mind. He considered the region nothing more than "a waste desert and wholly unfit for anything save cattle raising." But now, said the paper, Clark recognized
the health-giving properties of this dry atmosphere, the excellence of our water and the ease and little cost of obtaining it, the vigorous growth of trees, shrubbery, flowers and all kinds of garden produce and grain, the thriftyness [sic] and high moral standard of our citizens, the excellent drainage of Hereford and the easy access to it from all parts of the country.[1] 
The "easy access" to Hereford had come just two years earlier, in 1899, when the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway completed track running southwest through the town all the way to Farwell at the New Mexico border. As a result, Hereford enjoyed a railroad connection to Amarillo and, from there, to the entire country.[2]

It was an exciting place at an exciting time. When Clark made his first visit to Hereford, the place was only three years old. But it already home to more than one general store, a grocery story, a meat market, drug store, restaurant, confectionery, hotel, saloon, furniture store, and feed yard. The town had a barber, a blacksmith, and a postmaster.[3] Something else would soon be added. In the summer of 1901, a front-page story announced, "We Will Have a College."[4]

Notes

[1] Hereford Reporter, July 19, 1901.

[2] Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "HEREFORD, TX," accessed December 28, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/heh02; H. Allen Anderson, "PECOS AND NORTHERN TEXAS RAILWAY," accessed December 28, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqp09.

[3] Bessie Chambers Patterson, "Hereford: From Cow Town to Capitol [sic] of Farming Empire,1898-1952," 4. This manuscript is housed in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX.

[4] Hereford Reporter, July 19, 1901.

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