Canadian, Texas
Population 2,339
On U.S. Highways 60/83

Where in the 806 can you gaze at a Norman Rockwell original, take in a movie with a vintage vibe and see a prehistoric turtle?

Canadian, Texas, is the place.

Dr. Malouf and Terese Abraham purchased the 1910 First Baptist Church in Canadian for $15,000 in the 1970s, saving it from demolition and renovating it as a home for their growing family. Avid art collectors, the couple filled their home with treasures and, in 2008, donated the structure and its contents as a public art museum, The Citadelle.

“I think that everyone is surprised that something of this magnitude exists in a tiny little place like Canadian,” Citadelle Art Museum Executive Director Wendie Cook says.

The Norman Rockwell painting there became the catalyst for an eclectic collection of art—paintings, sculptures, stained glass, fine crystal—and interesting antiques. (They later met Rockwell and served on the Norman Rockwell Museum National Council.) The meticulously maintained grounds include more sculptures and a separate gallery for traveling exhibits from across the country.

Not far from the Citadelle lies the River Valley Pioneer Museum, which tells the story of Hemphill County back to prehistoric times. A large dinosaur-era land turtle found on a local ranch in 1966 leads a display about prehistoric animals unearthed in nearby fossil fields.

The museum exhibits indigenous and Army artifacts from the Red River War, handmade saddles and vignettes of early life in Canadian.

While you’re in town, try the Palace Theatre, which started life as the Queen Theater in 1916 and reopened under the Palace name in the 1930s, after a fire. Renovated in the 1990s, it boasts THX sound, shows first-run movies and has a classic screening room and concession. 

Check out Panhandle PBS— panhandlePBS.org and the station’s social media—for video tours of these sites and other highlights from Canadian. 

PHOTOS BY PANHANDLE PBS

Hemphill County has seen a rich collection of archeological finds, including this land turtle fossil from the Mesozoic geological era, the time of dinosaurs and marine and flying reptiles.

River Valley Pioneer Museum at Canadian showcases the history of Hemphill County, including the Red River War, ranching, railroading and other scenes from the past.

The Palace Theatre features a concession stand with a 1940s popcorn maker that still shells out the salty treat.

Dr. Malouf and Terese Abraham have a large collection of art built over a lifetime, like this original by Joseph Leyendecker on display at The Iris & Oofie Abraham Gallery.

B&E Recommends

Brick & Elm offers these insider tips to make the most of your visit to Canadian. Fuel up and grab snacks for the road at an Amarillo Pak-a-Sak before your adventure! 

Eat Here:

The Cattle Exchange (122 S. 2nd St.) is located in the historic Moody’s building in downtown Canadian and known for its steaks, calf fries, burgers and Frito pie.

The Bucket (207 S. 2nd St.) is a locally beloved breakfast-all-day joint. Everyone raves about the homemade sourdough bread. 

The Stumblin’ Goat Saloon (217 S 2nd St.) is legendary, even showing up in author Taylor Moore’s novels. The portions are big and the service is impressive.

Stay Here:

Best Western Oasis Inn (303 S. 2nd St.) is a modern 3-star hotel located on the main strip through town.

Canadian Inn (502 N. 2nd St.) is a vintage motor court that has been lovingly restored by new owners. Most reviewers mention the new Memory Foam mattresses.

Hadaway Haven (419 E. Elsie Ave.) is a multi-room bed-and-breakfast hosted by a local Realtor. It’s cozy and comforting like a stay “at Grandma’s house.”

The Last Cowboy’s Court (606 N. 2nd St.) is another nostalgic, renovated 1950s travel court with a fun, bright-yellow exterior and unique rooms.

Play Here:

Canadian’s three-day Fourth of July Celebration (July 1-4) includes “the Best Fourth of July Parade in Texas,” a watermelon feed, an annual turtle race and a public rodeo that dates back to 1888.

Lake Marvin is a 63-acre lake east of Canadian, located within the Black Kettle National Grasslands and known for its birding, hiking, picnicking and fishing.

Canadian River Wagon Bridge is the longest pin-connected steel bridge in Texas, completed in 1916 after floods washed away two previous bridges. It serves as a wonderful photo opportunity, wildlife-viewing platform and hike-and-bike destination.

Fuel Here:

Pak-a-Sak (1701 N. Hobart, Pampa) serves as a convenient restroom and fuel stop on the way back to Amarillo.

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Author

  • Karen Welch

    Karen is the senior content producer for Panhandle PBS. She joined the station after spending 28 years in print journalism—26 of them at the Amarillo Globe-News. She is the winner of a Regional Emmy Award and more than a dozen individual or team reporting awards. Karen is a local, born and raised in Amarillo, and earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Texas A&M University.

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