Gray County, Texas
Gray County is located in the central part of the Panhandle and the eastern edge of the High Plains, bound on the north by Roberts County, on the east by Wheeler County, on the south by Donley County, and on the west by Carson County.
Cities, Towns & Communities
Gray County. Formed from Young and Bexar Territories; Created August 21, 1876; Organized May 27, 1902; Named in Honor of Peter W. Gray 1819-1874; Member of the First Legislature of Texas; Member of the Confederate Congress; Appointed to the Texas Supreme Bench in 1874; County Seat, Lefors, 1902; Pampa, Since 1928. Historical marker text, 1936 Centennial Marker. Marker location: From Pampa, go 2 miles east on U.S. 60.
Gray County, formed in 1876 out of the Bexar District, was named for Peter W. Gray, a lawyer and politician of the Republic of Texas and Civil War eras. In 1878 a well-known local rancher, Perry LeFors, established a small ranch on Cantonment Creek. Other small ranching operations developed in the eastern part of the county. The population, 56 in 1880, rose only to 203 in 1890 and 480 by 1900. A ranching economy with little need for manpower occupied the area. By the turn of the century the county’s stable stock-farming population felt a growing need for self-government. As a result, in 1902 the county was organized with Lefors as the county seat. Lefors, a tiny ranching town, remained the county seat until 1928, when Pampa‘s oil-induced growth led to its becoming the county seat.
Gray County History 1922. This county was one of the last of the Panhandle counties to be organized, a county government being instituted in 1902. The population of the county in 1880 was 56 ; in 1890, 203 ; in 1900, 480; in 1910, 3,405, and in 1920, 4,663. The Kansas Southern division of the Santa Fe System was constructed across the northwest part of the county during the latter ’80s, and in 1903 the Rock Island Line was built along the southern part of the county. The county seat is LeFors, [Pampa became the county seat in 1928, a few years after this was written.] no town at this time as it is off the railroad and has no accommodations, while an important town is Pampa, located in the northwest part of the county, on the Santa Fe Railway line in the great wheat growing belt.
Gray County Bicentennial Observance, 1776–1976: Souvenir Program
For the Reason We Climb Mountains – Gray County, 1902–1982, 1982 by Elleta Nolte.
Gray County Heritage, 1985, by Gray County History Book Committee.
Gray County has been home to two courthouses. The first one, built in 1902, in Lefors, was used as a private residence after Pampa became the county seat in 1928. The current Gray County courthouse, a four-story stone and cast structure, was built in 1928. It was restored in 2003 and is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. A courthouse annex was built in 1959. It was destroyed by tornado in 1970 and rebuilt.
Gray County Courthouse. A fine example of a beaux arts courthouse with Georgian ornamentation, this structure was erected after the county seat was moved from Lefors in 1928. The edifice was designed by W. R. Kaufman & Son of Amarillo and built by Harland L. Case & Co. of Pampa. It was dedicated on April 19, 1930. Built upon a foundation of Indiana limestone, the steel frame and many windows give a modern look to the traditional beaux arts style. Kaufman designed Pampa’s city hall and fire station in a similar style. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1997.
Pampa, TX 35° 32′ 10.1616″ N, 100° 57′ 35.5356″ W