County Seat: Vega * County Population: 2,052 (2010 Census)
The 1915 Oldham County Courthouse in Vega was designed by O.G. Roquemore in an altered Classical Revival style. The building’s hipped roof was removed in 1967.
The inaugural county capitol still stands in the original county seat of Tascosa. The 1884, sandstone structure now serves as the Julian Bivins Museum located on Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.
Oldham County was created on Aug. 21, 1876, from Young and Bexar territories and organized on Jan. 12, 1881. The county was named in honor of Williamson Simpson Oldham, an Arkansas lawyer and jurist, and a Texas member of the Confederate Senate.
Vega, the Spanish word for meadow, became the county seat in 1915 after winning a vote of 134 to 45.
Located 30 miles west of Amarillo, Oldham County is larger than the state of Rhode Island and includes the communities of Vega, Adrian, Wildorado, and Boys Ranch.
The area was once part of the famous XIT Ranch, the 3-million-acre ranch granted in 1879 by the State of Texas to the Capital Land Syndicate in exchange for building the Capitol in Austin.
The terrain is described as level prairie broken by the Canadian River and tributaries that form the “breaks” or “Caprock,” with mainly ranchland to the north of I-40 and fertile farmland to the south. The county is listed as one of the sunniest areas of the United States. Oldham County is home to six large wind facilities that have provided a much-needed economic boost.
Oldham County hosts over 51 miles of Historic Route 66. Adrian is the geo-mathematical “MidPoint” of Route 66 inspiring the town’s motto: “When You’re Here, You’re Half-Way There!” Travelers from around the world come to take their picture beneath the MidPoint sign, have a piece of ugly-crust pie at the MidPoint Café & Gift Shop, and tour the town’s quaint historic shops.
Several area museums offer a glimpse into Oldham County’s rich history. For example, the Milburn Price Cultural Museum, located on Old Route 66 in Vega, hosts visitors year-round from all over the world. The Adrian Lions Antique Museum features antique farm and ranch equipment, including a Caterpillar Combine used in the 1930s, horse-drawn equipment, and early tractors. Dot’s Mini Museum, located on the Old Ozark Trail that became Old Route 66, is home to Western artifacts and memorabilia from the heyday of Route 66.
Visitors are also drawn to the Boot Hill Cemetery located in Boys Ranch. The Oldham County Chamber of Commerce offers an intriguing description of the resting place: “When Tascosa was a wide-open, riotous Cowboy Capital of the 1880s, many law-abiding and God-fearing men and women were buried here, often without benefit of clergy, men who ‘died with their boots on.’ The name was borrowed from a cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas, while it was a resort of buffalo hunters and trail drivers.”
“If you like wide open spaces, cowboys, the Old West, and beautiful sunsets, you’ll love Oldham County,” shared County Judge Don Allred.