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Dalhart, Texas

Dalhart, Texas
Dalhart Consumers grain elevator, 2008
Dalhart Consumers grain elevator, 2008
Motto: "The XIT City"[1]
Location of Dalhart, Texas
Location of Dalhart, Texas
Country United States
State Texas
Counties Dallam, Hartley
 • Total 4.3 sq mi (11.1 km2)
 • Land 4.3 sq mi (11.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 3,983 ft (1,214 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,930
 • Density 1,686.1/sq mi (651.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 79022
Area code(s) 806
FIPS code 48-18524[2]
GNIS feature ID 1355552[3]

Dalhart is a city in Dallam and Hartley counties in the U.S. state of Texas, and the county seat of Dallam County.[4] The population was 7,930 at the 2010 census.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
  • Arts and culture 5
    • Annual cultural events 5.1
  • Education 6
  • Media 7
  • Infrastructure 8
    • Prison system 8.1
  • Gallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13


The Empty Saddle Monument at the crossroads of Dalhart (U.S. Highways 87, 385, and 54) has honored the memory of the cowboys of the defunct XIT Ranch.

Founded in 1901, Dalhart is named for its location on the border of Dallam and Hartley counties; its name combines the first syllables of Dallam and Hartley counties.[5][6] The City was founded at the site of a Railroad junction, which heavily contributed to its early growth.

Dalhart was in the center of the Dust Bowl, an area adversely affected by a long period of drought and dust storms during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was here that Tex Thornton operating on the now debunked concussion theory coaxed today's inflation adjusted equivalent of $1 million from the locals on claims he could fire rocket-powered explosives into the clouds and cause rain.[7]

At the Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart honors the memory of James R. Fox, Jr. (March 16, 1919—March 11, 1943), who flew supplies to China for Pan American Airways, then a joint Chinese and American company, during World War II through the treacherous Hump Route. Fox and his two Chinese copilots were killed when their Douglas C-52 cargo plane crashed. In 2002, the Peoples Republic of China made a bronze bust in Fox's honor and presented it to Dalhart.[8]


40 year sequence of Landsat images showing the dry Texas panhandle near the town of Dalhart.

Dalhart is located at (36.060856, −102.518656).[9] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²). None of the area is covered with water.

Dalhart sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87, 385, and 54. Two miles south of Dalhart is Rita Blanca Canyon, site of Rita Blanca Lake State Park.

Dalhart is located closer to six other state capitals than to Texas' capital of Austin. In surface mileage (over major highways), Dalhart is 579 miles (932 km) from Austin [9], but is 263 miles (423 km) from Santa Fe, New Mexico[10], 343 miles (552 km) from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma[11], 348 miles (560 km) from Denver, Colorado[12], 448 miles (721 km) from Cheyenne, Wyoming[13], 461 miles (742 km) from Topeka, Kansas[14], and 540 miles (870 km) from Lincoln, Nebraska[15].

As the "crow flies," Dalhart is 491 miles (790 km) from Austin, but 201 miles (323 km) from Santa Fe, New Mexico, 281 miles (452 km) from Oklahoma City, 289 miles (465 km) from Denver, Colorado, 375 miles (604 km) from Cheyenne, Wyoming, 434 miles (698 km) from Topeka, Kansas, and 458 miles (737 km) from Lincoln, Nebraska.[16]


Dalhart experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with cool, dry winters and hot summers. Depending on the standard consulted, Dalhart's climate is classified as semi-arid or steppe. The average annual rainfall of less than 16 inches strongly influences both Dalhart's ecological climate and agricultural practices, especially center-pivot irrigation.[10]

Climate data for Dalhart, Texas. (1948-2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Average high °F (°C) 49.6
Average low °F (°C) 19.5
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.45
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.7
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center[11]


As of the 2010 Census, Dalhart had a population of 7,930 living in 2,957 housing locations. 50.3% of the population was male, with 49.7% being female. The census revealed that 28.9% of the population was under the age of 18, while 12.4% of citizens were over the age of 65. With an area of 4.78 square miles, the City of Dalhart has a population density of 1659.0 persons/square mile.[14]

Census data showed that 84.0% of the population identified as white, while 1.2% identified as Black/African American, 0.7% identified as Asian, 0.9% identified as Native American, and 0.1% were Pacific Islander. 10.5% of the remaining population identified themselves as some other race, while 2.5% considered themselves to be of two or more races. 34.0% of the population identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino of any race.[14]

In 2010, 9.9% of the population identified as being foreign-born, with 25.4% of households in Dalhart speaking a primary language other than English at home. Data demonstrated that 79.6% of residents over 25 had earned at least a High School Diploma, while 16.4% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.[15]

Over the 4-year period between 2007-2011, the median (middle) household income was $53,210, with a larger mean (average) household income of $69,190. The median per-capita income was found to be $24,979. The census showed that 6.4% of the population lived below the federal poverty line, and 3.4% of the population was unemployed. 71.1% of Dalhart residents owned a home, with the median home value being $91,800. As of 2010, 829 businesses were registered in the city.[16]


Dalhart's economy is centered around agribusiness, including farming, ranching, feedlot operations, large scale pig farms, and, more recently a cheese processing plant. Dalhart is also home to a state prison.

During the peak operating period of the XIT Ranch, the land was in native grass. Some land was diverted into dry farmland, but there was insufficient rain to make it productive. A few irrigation wells were drilled in areas where the soil was not sandy and was level enough for row irrigation. Later, center pivot irrigation, credited to Texas panhandle farmer Frank Zybach in 1949,[17] was introduced and was found to be ideal for the area's rolling sandy soils. About the same time frame, large feedlots were built due to the low-humidity climate. This created a good market for corn, which is the major crop grown by farmers in the area.

In the mid-2000s, a combination of tax incentives, Texas' relatively unrestricted environmental regulations and Dalhart's existing agricultural infrastructure attracted industrial dairy farms to the city's economic sphere.[18] In 2007, Hilmar Cheese Company of California capitalized on the resulting milk availability, opening a major production plant in Dalhart. Texas Governor Rick Perry visited Dalhart to speak at the company's official welcoming ceremony, reiterating the company's projection that 2000 new jobs would be created in the region by the emerging dairy product production industry.[19] This factory and the surrounding dairies are a significant emerging subsector of Dalhart's established agribusiness culture.[18][20][21]

The international agribusiness company Cargill owns a 21,500-acre hog production site near Dalhart.[22]

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Dalhart is also known as the "XIT City" because of its relationship with the historic XIT Ranch.[1] The ranch was a 3,000,000-acre (12,000 km2) plot of land traded in exchange for the construction of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The ranch was dissolved in 1912, but its history is celebrated with the city's XIT Museum and the XIT Rodeo and Reunion. Held annually on the first full Thursday through Sunday weekend of August, the event includes the world's largest free barbecue, junior rodeo as well as Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events, three nights of live music, and a variety of other offering to celebrate the occasion. The Empty Saddle Monument, located at the crossroads of Dalhart, was constructed in 1940 at the request of Bobby Dycke, the wife of a ranch hand, to recognize the contribution of the XIT cowboys to the history of the region.

The Muscle Car Party Weekend is held each year in May, and includes a classic car show, bicycle drag races and dinner and dance. The events is sponsored by the Dalhart Cruzers Car Club and each year the club raffles a classic car.[1][23]


The Dalhart Independent School District serves the city of Dalhart. The district has an elementary school, intermediate school, junior high school and high school. Students attend Dalhart High School, which competes athletically and scholastically in District 1 Division 3A of Texas' University Interscholastic League.[24][25][26] In 2012, Frank Phillips College opened a branch in Dalhart, offering both credit and community education classes.[27]


The Dalhart Texan was established in 1901, and is published in Dalhart. The newspaper is currently published twice a week and has been owned by the Hogue Family for the past sixty consecutive years. Susan Hogue Clay is the present owner and publisher.[6][28]


Prison system

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Dalhart Unit prison is located in unincorporated Hartley County, near Dalhart.[29]


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Dalhart Chamber of Commerce". Dalhart Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Profile for Dalhart, Texas, TX". ePodunk. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Dalhart, Texas". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Texas Trails: Tex Thorton, the Firefighter and Rainmaker". Country World Online Edition. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Historical marker at Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart, Texas
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ cite web/|title=Climate Dalhart - Texas. Climate graph. Average Rainfall.
  11. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "United States Census 2010. Census Interactive Population Search. Dalhart, Texas.". 
  15. ^ "2010 US Census, Dalhart (City), Texas". 
  16. ^ "US 2010 Census. Economic Factfinder for Dalhart (City), Texas.". 
  17. ^ NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (April 28, 2012). "NASA's Landsat Satellites See Texas Crop Circles — Of the Irrigation Kind" (news story). ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 28, 2912. Retrieved from ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2012) — A water-rich polka dot pattern .... 
  18. ^ a b "Dairy Business is Booming Across Texas Panhandle". High Plains Midwest Ag Journal. 3 January 2008. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ Perry, Rick (30 November 2005). "Hilmar Cheese Company Speech Dalhart, TX". Office of the Governor. Office of the Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  20. ^ "Dalhart Hilmar Cheesework". Amarillo News Channel 10 KFDA. 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  21. ^ Welch, Kevin (3 July 2010). "Hilmar Eyes Expansion". Amarillo Globe News. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "Cargill Buys texas Hog Production Facility". Cargill Company. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  23. ^ "Dalhart Cruzers to have 6th annual Muscle Car Weekend". Dalhart Texan. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Dalhart Independent School District". Dalhart Independent School District. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Dalhart Independent School District". Geat Schools, Inc. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  26. ^ "University Interscholastic League. School Alignments 2012-2014. 3A." (PDF). 
  27. ^ "Amarillo Globe News. July 3, 2012. "College Opens Dalhart Center". 
  28. ^ "Dalhart Texan". Dalhart Texan. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Dalhart Unit." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on June 4, 2010.

Further reading

  • Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time (Mariner Books, 2006). ISBN 0-618-34697-X

External links

  • City of Dalhart
  • Dalhart Chamber of Commerce
  • The Dalhart Texan, local newspaper
  • Dalhart Online Magazine:
  • Dalhart Independent School District
  • Texas State Historical Association: Dalhart, Texas
  • ePodunk: Profile for Dalhart, Texas
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