The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost twenty-six counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east. The Handbook of Texas defines the southern border of Swisher County as the southern boundary of the Texas Panhandle region, though some consider the region to extend as far south as Lubbock County. The Texas Panhandle Press Association accepts members in the actual panhandle and a triangle formed by its southern tier, the southeastern border of New Mexico and a diagonal to the beginning, which includes Lubbock County. Its land area is 66,883.58 km² (25,823.9 sq mi), or nearly 10 percent of the state’s total. There is an additional 162.53 km² (62.75 sq mi) of water area. Its population as of the 2010 census was 427,927 residents, or 1.7 percent of the state’s total population. As of the 2010 census, this would put the average population density for the region at 16.6 persons/sq mi. The Panhandle is distinct from North Texas, which is farther southeast. West of the Caprock Escarpment and north and south of the Canadian River breaks, the surface of the Llano Estacado is rather flat. South of the city of Amarillo, the level terrain gives way to Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the United States. This colorful canyon was carved by the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River. North of Amarillo lies Lake Meredith, a reservoir created by Sanford Dam on the Canadian River. The lake, along with the Ogallala Aquifer, provides drinking water and irrigation for this moderately dry area of the high plains. Interstate Highway 40 passes through the panhandle, and also passes through Amarillo. The highway passes through Deaf Smith, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray, Donley, and Wheeler Counties. The Texas Panhandle has been identified in the early 21st century as one of the fastest-growing wind-power-producing regions in the nation because of its strong, steady winds.UPDATE 2-Pickens’ Mesa Power orders GE wind turbines | Reuters Before the rise of Amarillo, the three originals town of the Panhandle were Clarendon in Donley County, Mobeetie in Wheeler County, and Tascosa in Oldham County. Clarendon moved itself after it was overlooked by the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad. Mobeetie was reduced even below its original small size with the closure of the United States Army’s Fort Elliott in 1890. Tascosa was ruined by the location of the railroad too far north of the town and the inability to build a feeder line. The Tascosa Pioneer wrote in 1890: “Truly this is a world which has no regard for the established order of things but knocks them sky west and crooked, and lo, the upstart hath the land and its fatness.”
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