“The county was named for two distinguished Texans with the surname Roberts, John S. Roberts and Oran Milo Roberts. Miami is the county seat. The county is crossed by U.S. Highway 60, State Highway 70, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Roberts County covers 924 square miles of rolling plains with elevations that range from 2,467 to 3,219 feet above sea level. Annual rainfall is 20.7 inches.”
“The nomadic Comanches hunted the immense herds of buffalo that ranged through the area that would become Roberts County. The actions of Ranald S. Mackenzie and federal troops in the Red River War of 1874–75 removed the Indian threat. At the same time buffalo hunters killed off the great herds of bison.”
“In 1876 Roberts County was carved from Bexar County and the Clay Land District and attached to Wheeler County for judicial purposes. The first settler was Bill Anderson, who arrived the same year. Henry Whiteside Cresswell established the first ranch on Home Ranch Creek in 1877. Cresswell included most of Roberts County in his Cresswell Ranchand ran 45,000 cattle on land spanning several counties. Marion Armstrong opened a stagecoach stand on Red Deer Creek at the site of future Miami in 1879.”
“In 1887 the Southern Kansas Railway built a line from the Oklahoma border into the Panhandle, passing through Roberts County and linking up with Panhandle City the following year. Settlers followed in the wake of the railroad, and the town of Miami was platted out along the railroad in the southeastern part of the county in the summer of 1887. Settlers around Miami petitioned for county government, while cattlemen and settlers along the Canadian River in the northern part of the county framed a counter petition with Parnell, a small settlement in the northwestern part of the county, as proposed county seat.”
“The county was organized in January of 1889, and Miami was chosen as the county seat, but the election was declared fraudulent in December, and Parnell was chosen county seat instead. Parnell remained the county seat until 1898, after another election relocated the seat of county government back to Miami. By 1890 Roberts County had a population of 326 and thirty-four farms and ranches. Among the important ranches were the Cresswell Ranch, the Turkey Track Ranch, and the Cross Bar Ranch. Miami prospered as the shipping point for cattle.”
“The county population slowly grew to 620 in 1900, 950 in 1910, and a peak of 1,469 in 1920. The county economy centered on cattle raising, and the number of cattle increased from 30,259 in 1900 to a peak of 48,959 in 1930. During the same period the county developed a modest farming economy, increasing from 3,576 improved acres in 1900 to 44,751 in 1930. Wheat was by far the most important crop, increasing from 1,423 acres in 1910 to 29,350 acres in 1920, to a peak of 34,102 acres, over three quarters of the cropland harvested that year, in 1930.”
“Throughout its history Roberts County has remained one of the most sparsely populated counties in the state. Most of the inhabitants of the county have been white of English, Irish, and German descent; in 2000 blacks comprised 0.34 percent of the county’s residents and Hispanics made up less than 4 percent of the population.”
“Agribusiness and oilfield operations came to dominate the county’s economy. Oil was discovered in Roberts County in 1945, and 40,126,321 barrels had been produced through 1990. Almost 412,600 barrels of oil and 23,574,562 cubic feet of gas-well gas were produced in the county in 2000; by the end of that year 44,937,568 barrels of oil had been taken from county lands since 1945. Though the number of acres devoted to wheat production never returned to its 1930 level, wheat remained the dominant crop through the 1990s, while the number of cattle raised in the county remained in excess of 30,000 over the same period.”
“Miami, the county seat and the only incorporated community in the county, had 675 inhabitants in 1990; in 2000 588 people, more than two-thirds of the county’s residents, lived there. The annual National Cow Calling Contest has been held in Miami since 1949, and there are a number of scenic drives in the county.”
- Handbook of Texas Online, Mark Odintz, “Roberts County“
Just to note, it’s “my-am-uh” (unlike that other Miami in Florida).
I was the guest of Miami and Roberts County on May 31, 2014.
Roberts County Courthouse – 1890
(Photo Courtesy: THC)
This building was built in 1890 by an unknown contractor, and served the county in Parnell, the first county seat. After Miami took on that role, the building was moved there. County officials demolished it sometime around 1913.
Roberts County Courthouse – 1913
(Photo Courtesy: THC)
This courthouse is the sister building of the Marion County Courthouse in Jefferson. Both were designed by Elmer G. Withers of Fort Worth. The buildings are strikingly similar in design, but could not be more different in setting. The courthouse in Jefferson is located in a crowded downtown historic district, while this courthouse is positioned on a quiet hill over slow-paced Miami.
The contractors on hand were from the firm Bone & Parr of Amarillo. An elevator and handicap ramp were installed in 1985.
The Roberts County courthouse rests on a gradual hill on the eastern side of town.
The front façade, facing northwest towards Commercial Street
The cornerstone is on the northern corner.
The east corner
The northeast façade
The southeast façade borders the parking lot.
The courthouse interior, as seen through the southeast doors
The handicap ramp was installed in 1985.
The view from the southeast entrance
Leonora Street merges with Wichita and Kiowa Streets near the western courthouse corner. The Roberts County landscape spills away into the horizon.
The courthouse, as viewed from across the parking lot on Wichita Street
The southern corner
The southwest façade
The view from the southwest façade
No beachfront mansions here, but I love the flag in the window. This is on Kiowa Street.The Roberts County Museum’s found a home inside Miami’s historic Santa Fe depot.
Commercial Street, Miami
Previous Courthouse: Hemphill County
Next Courthouse: Wheeler County