Commerce & Trades History

The men and women who performed the various trades of 19th and 20th Century Canadian were, in many respects, the core around which community commerce was built. The River Valley Pioneer Museum has a number of authentic exhibits that show the tools, goods, and services provided by bankers, doctors, mercantile shopkeepers, and undertakers. Time spent pouring over these exhibits will impress you with how far we've progressed, but also with how deeply our lives are still intertwined with the services of medicine, finance, and consumer goods.

Read more about the history of Canadian's merchants and tradesmen. 

Ranching History

HistoryBy the late 1800s the Texas Panhandle was known for its sandstorms, mirages, sweeping prairie fires and rolling, treeless plains. It was also the home to thousands of the Southern Plains buffalo herds which supported native Indian tribes, such as the Comanche. In the 1870s, numerous buffalo hunters arrived which spelled the doom for these enormous herds.

Included in our museum’s collection is the .50 caliber buffalo rifle used by Dick Bussell during that time. After the buffalo were gone, many former hunters stayed in the area, including Dick Bussell and the Wood and Simpson families who established a place near the current town of Canadian. With the buffalo gone and the elimination of the Indian threat, the area quickly became “cattle country”.

Read more about the history of Canadian's ranches and ranchers. 

Rodeo History

J. Ellison Carrol of Big Lake, Texas, is responsible for the statement that the first rodeo held in Texas was at Canadian in the summer of 1888. It was in the form of a two day celebration, with steer roping as the main event. To Hemphill County belongs the distinction of innovating rodeo and was among the first of such “reunions” to be staged as a community undertaking anywhere in the southwest.

In this time before the Anvil Park Rodeo, this event stands as an unmarked memorial of the people who settled this region. Things missing then were the carefully evolved rules that govern rodeo today, and a constructed rodeo ground with grandstand.

Read more about the history of Canadian rodeo. 

Railroad History

A History of Hemphill County and the City of Canadian is the story of the railroad in the Texas Panhandle. H.Y. Wilson engineered the first train, engine 299, into Canadian, thus beginning a way of life which would effect the city of Canadian for more than 50 years.  With the railroad came the Depot, Harvey House, Roundhouse, Santa Fe Reading Room, and a population of citizens.

Read more about the history of the railroad in the Texas Panhandle. 

Women's History in Canadian

If Canadian has anything it is the determined women who built the community. Discover some of the fascinating women who nurtured, educated, served and built the communities of the Texas Panhandle. From the first educator to the entrepreneurial women who settled and built a lasting community nestled in the corner of the Texas Panhandle, you will discover the strength and foresight that has helped keep the city of Canadian and the county of Hemphill a vibrant and treasured place in which to work, live and raise families.

Read more about women's history in Canadian, Texas.... 

Academic History

Explore the rich academic history of Canadian Texas.  From Mary Brainard Isaacs, Canadian's pioneer educator to Billy Cross, Educator and  former Professional Halfback for the Chicago Cardinals you will discover how much of Canadian's rich heritage is rooted in academic excellence.

Read more about Hemphill County's Academic history...

Military History

The two World Wars, the Korean conflict and the Viet Nam era all had an impact on Hemphill County as was true all across the nation. Some nineteen men, early settlers, were veterans of the Civil War or Spanish American War having come here for a new start. Both the North and South were represented in this early migration.    

Read more about Hemphill County's military history...