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Shamrock, Texas
Historic U-Drop Inn, a Conoco fuel station restoration in Art Deco style along U.S. Route 66 in Shamrock
Historic U-Drop Inn, a Conoco fuel station restoration in Art Deco style along U.S. Route 66 in Shamrock
Location in Wheeler County and the state of Texas.
Location in Wheeler County and the state of Texas.
Country United States
State Texas
County Wheeler
First Settled 1890
Incorporated 1911
 • Total 2.05 sq mi (5.30 km2)
 • Land 2.05 sq mi (5.30 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
2,343 ft (714 m)
 • Total 1,910
 • Estimate 
 • Density 861.75/sq mi (332.80/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 806
FIPS code 48-67160
GNIS feature ID 1368050

Shamrock is a city in Wheeler County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 1,910. The city is located in the eastern portion of the Texas Panhandle centered along the crossroads of Interstate 40 (formerly U.S. Route 66) and U.S. Route 83. It is 110 miles (180 km) east of Amarillo, 188 miles (303 km) west of Oklahoma City, and 291 miles (468 km) northwest of Dallas.


Located in south central Wheeler County, Shamrock was the largest town in the county in the late 19th century. George and Dora Nickel consented to keep the first post office in their dugout there in 1890. The mail was to be carried once a week from Mobeetie. The neighbors decided to let George name the office. His Irish mother had told him always to depend on a shamrock to bring him good luck, so he suggested "Shamrock" for the name of the office. But when a mysterious fire destroyed his dugout, George Nickel's post office never opened. Mary Ruth Jones became Shamrock's first postmistress, running the Shamrock post office out of the Jones family home. In 1902 the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway set up a station in the town, calling it "Wheeler" like the county, but changing it back to the original name of Shamrock in 1903, which prompted the reopening of the Shamrock post office. By 1907, the town was competing with the towns of Story and Benonine as trade centers.

The town continued its growth as other businesses moved into the city, including the county newspaper, which moved from Story and renamed itself from the Wheeler County Texan to the Shamrock Texan, several banks, and Shamrock Cotton Oil Mill. In 1911, E. L. Woodley became the mayor of the newly incorporated city. In 1926, the discovery of oil and the operation of natural gas wells by Shamrock Gas Company helped spur the city's continuing growth. A decline in the oil industry caused the population to drop in the 1940s, but it rebounded in the next decade with the improvement of Route 66. By the 1980s, the town was home to an established modern school system, a chemical plant, oil and gas processing plants, and a hospital.

At its peak, in 1930, Shamrock had a population of 3,778. Despite some rebounds, the city population continues to fluctuate. According to the 2000 census, the city population has dropped to its lowest recorded point with 2,029 residents.

Shamrock holds an annual St. Patrick's Day observance. Astronaut Alan Bean, a native of nearby Wheeler, visited the community on March 13 as the kickoff for the 2015 ceremony. He became the fourth man to walk on the moon, a feat that he once described as "almost like I couldn't believe it myself."


Shamrock is located at 35°13′2″N 100°14′50″W / 35.21722°N 100.24722°W / 35.21722; -100.24722 (35.217116, −100.247171).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km²), all of it land.


Climate data for Shamrock, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 48
Average low °F (°C) 23
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.56


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,227
1930 3,780 208.1%
1940 3,123 −17.4%
1950 3,322 6.4%
1960 3,113 −6.3%
1970 2,644 −15.1%
1980 2,834 7.2%
1990 2,286 −19.3%
2000 2,029 −11.2%
2010 1,910 −5.9%
2019 (est.) 1,764 −7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, 2,029 people, 852 households, and 550 families resided in the city. The population density was 979.7 people per square mile (378.5/km2). The 1,072 housing units averaged 517.6 per square mile (200.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.26% White, 4.83% African American, 1.38% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 5.91% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 13.41% of the population.

Of the 852 households, 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were not families. About 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city, the population was distributed as 25.3% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,776, and for a family was $33,542. Males had a median income of $24,688 versus $16,944 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,724. About 22.7% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

U-Drop Inn

In 1936, the U-Drop Inn was built at the corner of the U.S. Route 83 and the now historic Route 66. At the time of opening, the U-Drop was the only café within 100 miles (160 km) of Shamrock, enjoying brisk business and becoming a successful establishment. Once considered a beautiful and impressive example of Route 66 architecture in Texas, the U-Drop Inn fell into disrepair with the decommissioning of Route 66. Referred to as "one of the most impressive examples" of Route 66 architecture by the Texas Historical Commission, the U-Drop Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. In May 1999, the First National Bank of Shamrock purchased the then closed U-Drop Inn and gave it to the city of Shamrock. With a $1.7 million federal grant, the city was able to hire a firm specializing in historical renovation to restore the building to its original glory and adapt it into a museum, visitors' center, gift shop, and the city's chamber of commerce. The revived U-Drop Inn was featured in the 2006 animated film Cars as the inspiration for the fictional Ramone's body shop.

Pioneer West Museum

Pioneer West Museum, Shamrock, TX IMG 6142
Pioneer West Museum is housed in the former Reynolds Hotel in Shamrock.
Fort Elliot display in Shamrock, TX IMG 6150
Fort Elliot, home of the Tenth Cavalry, display at Pioneer West Museum
Downtown Shamrock, TX IMG 6174
Downtown Shamrock on U.S. Highway 83
U.S. Post Office, Shamrock, TX IMG 6166
U.S. Post Office in Shamrock

The Old Reynolds Hotel, a historic building, was saved from demolition and converted into a museum by local residents. The building with 25 rooms was turned into an exhibition hall with pioneer artifacts, typical objects of settlers, and Native American arrowheads. There are exhibits ranging from local historical objects to a space exhibit to a military history exhibit.

Festivals and Celebrations

Two annual social gatherings are organized each year to celebrate the founder’s heritage. The Annual St. Patrick’s Celebration is held annually on the weekend closest to St Patrick’s Day. Irish Craftfest is held annually the first weekend of October at the Shamrock Area Community Center.

In popular culture

  • At the end of the film Cast Away, Chuck Nolan (Tom Hanks) is seen on US Route 83 near Interstate 40, the real-life location of Shamrock.
  • In Season 2, episode 1 of the show Magnum, P.I., the character Billy Joe Little says he and his sister, Carol Ann, whom he is looking for, are from Shamrock.
  • Some parts of the movie Abilene, later named Shadows of the Past, were filmed in the Shamrock area. Ernest Borgnine played the character-Hotis Brown.
  • Quantum Leap, episode 605 (July 12, 1978)
    Author: Erik Dreiling and A. J. Burfield

Location: Shamrock, Texas
Date at Project: April 2, 1999
Leap: Sam leaps into Kenneth Richardson, a young man whose older brother disappears.
Heart story: Sam discovers that if he heals an old wound between his brother and father, he can reunite the family.
Summary: It used to be a family. They used to get along. What the heck happened that caused this family to turn and fight each other? As Kenneth Richardson, Sam is tries to rebuild a broken family. But when dad is as hardheaded as son, Sam doubts that they will ever stop fighting enough to listen to each other.


The City of Shamrock is served by the Shamrock Independent School District and home to the Shamrock High School Irish.


Major highways

Notable people

  • Phil Cates, former state representative for District 66, resided in Shamrock from 1975 to 1979
  • Richard P. Crandall, American nuclear physicist; author of They All Told the Truth: The Anti-Gravity Papers
  • Bill Mack, singer and songwriter
  • Gene Price, songwriter, musician and vocalist; longtime songwriting associate of Buck Owens
  • Larry Salmans, Kansas state legislator
  • Holice Turnbow, artist and quilter
  • Eugene Worley, reared in Shamrock; U.S. representative from Texas's 18th congressional district from 1941 to 1950

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Shamrock (Texas) para niños

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