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Arrow puts Friona on Quanah Parker Trail

A giant arrow landed in Friona on Tuesday November 27 at the Parmer County Museum, 210 W. 6th St. The arrow, courtesy of sculptor and artist Charles Smith of New Home, Texas, highlights the history and legacy of Comanche presence in Parmer County, placing the county on the Quanah Parker Trail.

A dedication day will be held Friday December 7 beginning at 10:45 a.m. at the Parmer County Museum and will be followed by a sausage wrap lunch from 12 – 1 p.m. at the museum. Everyone is invited to attend the activities.

A granite marker will be placed at the arrow site. The tentative wording will read: “Parmer County’s Running Water Draw Ancient Route of the Buffalo, the Comanche, Coronado, and the Cowboy.”

Placement of the arrow required a front-end loader provided by the city, two bags of concrete mix, and a 2-foot by 10-inch diameter hole to place the tip. The arrow stands about 22 feet tall and ¼ inch steel rods resembling the fletching of feathers, vibrate in the wind. A metal plate on the tip of the arrow with the number 42 signifies the order of placement in the 52-county Texas Plains Trail Region (TPTR).

Community leaders from the 52 counties that form the TPTR in the Panhandle wanted to develop a cultural and historical trail that characterizes it and sets it apart from other areas of Texas. They arrived at the idea of developing a Quanah Parker Trail in the Texas Panhandle plains region.

Our region is remarkable for the fact that it formed “The Last Frontier” in the 48 contiguous states where Native Americans last roamed free before being removed to reservations. The Quanah Parker Trail honors historical landmarks, sites, events, and artifacts in museums that link our region to the Native Americans who last roamed the Texas Panhandle plains.

It is named after Quanah Parker to honor his role as the chief of the Comanches who were the most powerful Native American presence in the region. The TPTR is currently developing a website that can be found by googling “Quanah Parker Trail.” The goal of installing giant arrows along the Quanah Parker Trail is to mark each county’s connection to Quanah Parker and the Comanche people whose presence preceded the arrival of Anglo settlers.

The arrow is the creation of Charles Smith, a cotton farmer, gin operator, welder, artist, and sculptor. His first arrow was commissioned by an insurance agency and installed about five years ago on a 7-acre site at the intersection of FM211 and FM1730 in New Home. All arrows are marked to denote each county’s place on the Quanah Parker Trail and are painted in the Comanche colors of red, blue, and gold.

ron carr photo

The Quanah Parker Trail arrow was installed Tuesday at the Parmer County Historical Museum. From left are city employee Richard Samarron, arrow sculptor Charles Smith, Texas Plains Trail regional director Deborah Sue McDonald, museum curator Wendy Carthel, and city employees Jose Samarron and Salvador Garcia.