Ruben on the Road: Learning about the father of the Panhandle at Goodnight Ranch

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:29 AM CDT
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GOODNIGHT, Texas (KFDA) - Ruben heads to Goodnight where he learns about the father of the Panhandle at the Charles and Mary Ann Goodnight Ranch.

Tammy Scarbrough, museum educator at Goodnight Ranch, says a lot of people don’t realize Charles Goodnight is known as the father of the Panhandle, but he helped to settle the area.

“He encouraged people as they came across to stay here and build a community. He established the town of Goodnight and then he and Mary Ann are credited with single handedly saving the Southern Plains bison herd,” said Scarbrough.

She says not a lot of people know Goodnight also invented the first chuckwagon in 1866.

It’s vitally important for people to know local history, Scarbrough says.

“One of the things I’m excited about is getting to go into the schools and tell kids about our local history and not just Charles and Mary Ann Goodnight, but also about the Comanche that roamed this area and the importance of the bison to this area and to the culture,” said Scarbrough.

She says she thinks it’s important to know where people are from and what’s happened where people live.

“Of course, the main thing that we like to highlight is the house because it is their original home. It was built in 1887,” said Scarbrough. “And then we also have the visitor center and it has different things where you can read information about the Goodnights and the bison.”

She says the most exciting thing they just got is a 1909 restored chuckwagon and they just rolled it out this past weekend. They’ll have it out for different events and they’re very excited about it.

School groups come out to the 28 acres they have to see the house, which Scarbrough says is an amazing house even by today’s standards, but especially in the 1880s and 1890s.

“It is just a neat way to have that connection and to pass that on to future generations,” said Scarbrough.