Parmer County celebrates centennial

CNJ Staff photo: Andy DeLisle Stormi Lookingbill of Friona roasts corn at the 100 year celebration of Parmer County.

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

There was no school Saturday, with the possible exception being on the grounds near the Parmer County Courthouse in Farwell. At the Parmer County centennial celebration, residents from each of the towns within the county gave short presentations about local history over the last 100 years.

Hugh Moseley of Farwell recounted how the county was formed on the first Saturday of May 1907 when area residents gathered in Parmtown. Almost exactly a year later, the town of Farwell became the county seat.

Troy Christian, an Oklahoma Lane denizen in the audience Saturday morning, said he believed that Parmtown must have been a forerunner to Parmington Hill, between Bovina and Friona.

“It’s supposed to be the highest spot in the county,” said Christian, 70, who enjoyed hearing the presentations.

“I always learn something. I’m not much of a historian, but I found it very interesting.”

The four-hour-plus celebration featured food booths, patriotic music, a barbershop quartet and Indian dancers. County residents also had a chance to buy commemorative bricks, to be laid out near the courthouse, as well as more unusual activities, such as the opportunity to ride a camel.

But the theme of the day was history. Speakers from the communities of Bovina, Friona, Black, Hub, Lakeview, Lariat, Lazbuddie, Oklahoma Lane and Rhea joined Moseley in regaling the crowd with stories from the past about their towns.

Don Spring of Bovina told how Highway 84 was first constructed through that city in 1936 and replaced Highway 33 in the process.

“It was a paved road, which was bliss,” Spring said. “When I was growing up, old Highway 33 was Lover’s Lane, so it had a significant meaning for us.”

Floyd Reeve, speaking on behalf of Friona, noted how the county’s economy has had its ebb-and-flow throughout the years.

“About three or four years ago, the county was kind of in the doldrums. All of a sudden, California dairy farmers discovered what a wonderful climate we have,” Reeve said. “It was kind of like when we had oil wells back in the ’50s.”

Like most classrooms in a school setting, this one of around 150 to 200 people shared a common characteristic: Those in the back were easily diverted. While the county’s history was being told, many looked to the rear to watch children trying to scale a 30-foot rock-climbing wall.

“I really couldn’t hear (the speakers) over here with all the kids yelling and all,” said Friona’s Stormi Lookingbill, 37, who was operating a food booth near the wall. “I got to hear the national anthem though.”