People who have come to the Spearman area have long met good fortune. The early settlers were blessed with the plentiful supply of buffalo that roved the Panhandle location in the 1870s. In 1934, Charles Lindbergh, on a flight from New York to Los Angeles with his wife, Anne, was able to land in a pasture around there and refuel his plane (and his stomach) without fanfare. Today prospectors are arriving to reap dividends from its abundant natural resources.
The town of Spearman—located on Hwy 15, approximately 75 miles northeast of Amarillo and 200 miles west of Oklahoma City—was born of opportunity. In 1917, land designated for it was platted in anticipation of the arrival of the North Texas and Santa Fe Railway. Two years later, the land became the home of the railway’s terminus, and as a result lured away most of the businesses, churches, and population of the nearby town of Hansford. Two years after that, in 1921, the land officially incorporated as Spearman, taking its name from Thomas E. Spearman, a Santa Fe Railway executive.
Just as quickly as everything materialized in Spearman, it was taken away. Fires in 1922 and 1924 wiped out much of the business district, leveling the population around 1,000. That was compounded in 1931, when the railroad expanded outward to Morse and points southwest, leaving Spearman less of a destination. As the Great Depression settled in and the Dust Bowl swept through, Spearman, now the seat of Hansford County, was looking in the rearview mirror at better days.
The real story is that Spearman persevered despite it all, transcending adversity with its tireless pioneer spirit. Wheat was plotted in the forgotten land and post-WWII bumper crops were born. New buildings were constructed, streets were laid, and a water system was built. The population boomed to around 4,000 in the ’60s, with oil, gas, and agriculture as the drivers. A municipal airport, hospital, and schools followed. And touchstones like the J.B. Buchanan Vintage Windmill Collection and the Stationmaster’s House Museum at the old railway terminus gave the small town a lot of culture.
The latest chapter in the book of Spearman began in November 2011. Among the town’s roughly 3,500 residents—whose median income hovers around $50,000—a vote was passed to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits. This makes Spearman a “wet” city in a “dry” county, which we’re excited about because even with more than a dozen places of worship it is still important to cut loose and have fun.