Vega, Texas, a small rural town just 30 minutes west of Amarillo, is the county seat and largest community in Oldham County. With a population of around 880, it is a great place to raise a family and have a business. Vega Independent School District offers an outstanding school system with an enrollment between 250-300 students. Vega ISD's students are housed in a single campus. Vega is often referred to as the “Crossroads of the Nation” and has also been dubbed, “The Solar Capital of Texas” due to being in the 7th Sunniest Areas of the U.S. The Country Music TV reality show, “Popularity Contest” and the made-for-TV movie, “What Matters Most” were both set in Vega as well as a Vince Gill music video, "Never Knew Lonely." Yearly events include the Vega Bluegrass Festival, Comancheros de Vega Community Garage Sales, Easter Eggstravaganza, and the Oldham County Round-Up. Vega offers 3 motels, a library (built in 1911 as a silent movie theater), 3 RV parks,7 restaurants,Farm & Agriculture Museum, a grocery store, several convenience stores,and many shops. Enjoy the nostalgia of Historic Route 66, meet real live cowboys, and experience our western heritage. Being only a short drive from Amarillo, citizens enjoy the benefits of big city amenities and the luxury of the small town lifestyle. Vega- a place where friendly people are plentiful.
Vega Links & Resources
For more information visit: www.cityofvega.org
Pro News 7 The Panhandle Spirit, "Shop Small in Vega & Ribbon Cuttings
History of Vega
In 1879, the state of Texas opened up land around, and including, what is now the town of Vega for homesteading. Several families filed claims. Later, others purchased homestead relinquishments. N.J. Whitfield purchased section 90 in Oldham County on October 17, 1899 for $1.00 per acre. In 1903, Whitfield sold a 100 foot strip right-of-way to the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Texas Railroad (later to become the Rock Island Railroad). Whitfield then sold portions of the land along the railroad right-of-way to other settlers in order to established a townsite, and Vega was born. A.M. Miller and Howard Trigg surveyed the town site that eventually became Vega in May 1903. It was that year that a store was built at the site of what would become Vega. The store's owner, A. M. Miller suggested that the name of the new town be Vega, chosen because it reflected the surrounding country side and is the Spanish word for meadow. Soon after, Miller opened a store, and a post office, saloon, and a school that doubled as a Masonic Lodge were built in the community. In 1907, ranchers Patrick and John Landergin purchased a part of the LS Ranch from Swift & Company. Working in association with the Amarillo-based Pool Land Company, the Landergin brothers brought more prospective settlers to the community.
With the coming of the railroad, the town boomed. Homes, churches,a blacksmith, and a bank were built and businesses flourished. In 1914, the Vega Sentinel proclaimed: "HOME OF OPPORTUNITY -- VEGA HAS the Grandest Hotels in the County, Largest Bank in County, and only Printing Office in County." Vega was officially incorporated in 1927, and the population was 519 in the 1930 census. On May 3, 1931, a fire destroyed six buildings west of the courthouse square. Two months later, a second fire burned two buildings on the north side of the square
In 1915 after a 5-year battle over which town should serve as Oldham County's seat of government, citizens voted that the county seat be moved from Tascosa to Vega. The population and importance of Tascosa had declined and most of the county's residence now lived in Vega, Adrian, and Wildorado. Citizens and merchants had to ride through the breaks and cross the treacherous Canadian River, which at that time had no bridge, in order to conduct official business. So it was decided that Vega would be the county seat and a new courthouse was built. Until a permanent courthouse was built, county business was conducted in Vega's Oldham Hotel.
In 1926, Route 66 was commissioned as a link from Chicago to L.A. and ran through Vega along the Old Ozark Trail. The popularization of the automobile brought new industry to Vega. Tourist courts, cafes, and gas stations sprang up. In Vega, Route 66 had a different alignment. In 1926, it turned north on what is now US 385. In 1937, the Route was realigned and paved straight through the 4-way stop. Vega and many other towns depended on the business that the Mother Road brought. Vega and many other cities across the United States began to dwindle when Interstate 40 bypassed them.
Today, Route 66 tourists still enjoy the history and nostalgia of the road which still provides glimpses of its past glory. Vega still has places such as: Roark Hardware (oldest operating hardward store on Rt. 66), Dot's Mini Museum (collections from a lifetime of living and working on Rt. 66), Roosters Mexican Restaurant (Originally a station), Hickory Inn Cafe (1960's), Bonanza Motel (1950's), Best Western Country Inn (1960's), the Vega Motel ( an original tourist court built in 1944. It is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.) and the restored Magnolia Station. The Magnolia Station was the second gas station to be built in Vega in the early 20's. It was restored by the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Vega with partial funding from National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. The Oldham County Heritage Farm and Ranch Museum is also a on Old Route 66 which offers visitors an outdoor display of antique farm machinery and equipment.
If you want to truly see America, then get off the Interstate and take an intentional drive on the back roads where you can get a true taste of it. American journalist, Charles Kuralt, said it best, "Thanks to the Highway System, it is now possible to drive from coast to coast without seeing anything."
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