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JA Ranch facts for kids

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J A Ranch
Southeast elevation - J A Ranch Headquarters, Main House, Paloduro, Armstrong County, TX HABS tx-3530-A-2.tif
HABS photo, 2000
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Nearest city Palo Duro, Texas
Area 40 acres (16 ha)
Built 1879 (1879)
NRHP reference No. 66000807
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
Designated NHL December 19, 1960

The JA Ranch is a historic cattle ranch in the Palo Duro Canyon in Armstrong County, Texas. Founded in 1876 by Charles Goodnight and John George Adair, it is the oldest cattle ranching operation in the Texas Panhandle. Its headquarters area was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 for its association with Goodnight, one of the most influential cattle barons of the late 19th century. The ranch is an ongoing business, operated by Adair's descendants.

Description and history

The JA Ranch is located southeast of Amarillo, Texas in the Texas Panhandle. The main ranch house, now a museum devoted to Charles Goodnight, is located a short way south of United States Route 287. It is a two-story construction, its oldest portion a log cabin which predates the American Civil War. The main portion of the house, built beginning in 1879, has rough stone walls on the ground floor and a wood-framed second story. Nearby outbuildings include the original 19th-century stables and corral, and a house for bunking ranch hands.

Charles Goodnight (1836-1929) was a native of Illinois who became a Texas Ranger in 1857. After the American Civil War, he became involved in cattle herding operations that recovered many thousands of heads of cattle left unsupervised during the conflict, blazing major herding trails across West Texas. After starting a ranching operation in eastern Colorado, he returned to the Palo Duro Canyon area (site of a major operation he led against the Kiowa and Comanche), and established a small ranch in 1874. He then entered into a partnership with John Adair, an Ulster Scots immigrant, who funded the ranch's expansion while Goodnight managed it. Under his oversight the ranch grew to over 700,000 acres (2,800 km2). He retired to a smaller ranch nearby in 1889.

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