[Amarillo: 1907-1909]. Plat map, approximately 17 x 13 inches. Previously folded, with a few short separations at old folds; light soiling and wear at edges. Additional material with light wear, tanning, and soiling. Overall, about very good. Item #2255
An unrecorded, early 20th-century plat map for an unbuilt town in the Texas Panhandle. Oldham County, Texas, was formed west of Amarillo in 1876 and organized in 1881, and is named after Williamson S. Oldham, Sr., a Texas pioneer and Confederate Senator. During its early history, the county consisted almost entirely of XIT Ranch land. "Crop farmers began to move into the area after 1904, when the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway laid tracks through the southern part of the county for a line connecting Amarillo to Tucumcari, New Mexico. The new railroad encouraged additional settlement, and a small number of wheat farms were established along the Rock Island right-of-way between 1900 and 1910; the towns of Adrian, Vega, and Wildorado also sprang up along the route. By 1910 Oldham County had eighty-seven farms and ranches and a population of 812" - Handbook of Texas Online.
The unrecorded plat map offered here was surveyed by the Amarillo, Texas-based Rock Island Investment Company between October 12 and 21, 1907, and shows seventy-two primary divisions of land, surrounding a central public square. Each division is further divided into sub-lots, with numbered streets and lettered avenues. A railway reservation and the line of the Chicago, Rock Island & Gulf Railroad appear along the bottom. Oldham City does not exist as such today, and the town as it was imagined here by the railroad and land companies did not spring up along the new line from Amarillo to Tucumcari, New Mexico, as several others did. The Amarillo investment company nevertheless persisted for several years in trying to sell the lots in this planned town, and this copy of their 1907 map is accompanied by three documents -- a warranty deed, a stock certificate, and a telegram -- relating to the sale of one parcel in Oldham City to a C.C. Watkins of Kemp, Texas, in early 1909. Watkins' lot is marked with two manuscript Xs on the map; a later 1939 snapshot purports to show the swath of land where nothing was ever built. In all, a fascinating group of materials on an aborted railroad town in the Texas Panhandle.