|The road to Goodnight Cemetery|
The town was founded by Charles Goodnight who began a ranch here in 1887. The very next year, the railroad laid tracks and opened a station and soon, enough folks were around that a post office was established. A school was opened in 1889 and Charles and his wife, Mary Ann, established the Goodnight College in 1898.
By the time of his death at age 93 in late 1929, Charles had grown his ranch into a successful business, established a herd of buffalo (now the official Texas State Bison Herd) which preserved the animal from extinction, and was the dominant force behind the town which had grown to 300 residents and 9 business establishments. In 1940 though, Claude, another town down the road a bit, began to emerge as the county's business center and Goodnight began to fade. In 1963, the population had dropped to 50 when the movie "Hud," starring Paul Newman, was filmed there. Despite the popularity of the film, Goodnight continued to decline until the closing of the post office in 1969 when there were only 25 residents left. At the time of our visit, the town was virtually deserted and the population in the surrounding area was estimated to be less than 15.
|Entrance to Goodnight Cemetery|
|Fenced in only by barbed wire, you can see for miles around.|
|Dozens of bandana's left in respect for Charles Goodnight.|
I didn't grow up on a ranch, I've never rode a horse from sunup to sundown, I've never roped anything, I've never branded a steer or driven a herd of cattle, but I'm convinced I did in a former life. And I am a native-born Texan with a bandana and a love of wide-open spaces and freedom. I didn't have my one pitiful little-old bandana with me because I didn't know and didn't think about it. But I'll go back to the Goodnight cemetery one of these days, God willing and the creek don't rise, and I'll tie my bandana to the fence around Charles Goodnight's grave. A symbol of respect from a wistful wanna-be cowboy to a true cowboy. RIP, sir.
|Plenty of room for those who want to rest away |
from any others.
|The quiet resting place of a military veteran.|
|A cowboy's grave|
|Lonely windmill in Goodnight, Texas|