Dalhart is a city in Dallam and Hartley counties in the U.S. state of Texas, and the county seat of Dallam County. The population was 7,237 at the 2000 census. Founded in 1901, Dalhart is named for its location on the border of Dallam and Hartley counties. Dalhart sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87, 385, and 54.
The city of Dalhart is known by many Texans as a gateway to the Colorado Rockies. The city's position in the northwestern corner of the Texas Panhandle -- only the town of Texline is further northwestward in Texas -- makes it a pivotal stopover for travelers going to or returning from the mountains.
Dalhart is also known as the "XIT City" because of its relationship with the historic XIT Ranch. The ranch was a plot of land traded in exchange for the construction of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The ranch was dissolved in 1912, but its history is celebrated with the city's XIT Museum and the XIT Rodeo and Reunion. Held annually on the first full Thursday through Sunday weekend of August, the event includes the world's largest free barbecue, junior rodeo as well asProfessional Rodeo Cowboys Association events, three nights of live music, and a variety of other offering to celebrate the occasion. The Empty Saddle Monument, located at the crossroads of Dalhart, was constructed in 1940 at the request of Bobby Dycke, the wife of a ranch hand, to recognize the contribution of the XIT cowboys to the history of the region.
At the Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart honors the memory of James R. Fox, Jr. (March 16, 1919—March 11, 1943), who flew supplies to China for Pan American Airways, then a joint Chinese and American company, during World War II through the treacherous Hump Route. Fox and his two Chinese copilots were killed, when their Douglas C-52 cargo plane crashed. In 2002, the Peoples Republic of China made a bronze bust in Fox's honore and presented it to Dalhart.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²).None of the area is covered with water.
Dalhart is located closer to six other state capitals than to Texas' capital of Austin. In surface mileage (over major highways), Dalhart is from Austin , but is from Santa Fe, New Mexico , from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma , from Denver, Colorado , from Cheyenne, Wyoming , from Topeka, Kansas , and from Lincoln, Nebraska
There were 2,779 households out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,897, and the median income for a family was $39,193. Males had a median income of $29,521 versus $19,899 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,530. About 8.5% of families and 11.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.
During the heyday of the XIT Ranch, the land was in native grass. Some land was diverte into dry farmland, but there was insufficient rain to make it productive. Then a few irrigation wells were drilled in areas where the soil was not sandy and was level enough for row irrigation. Later center pivot irrigation entered and was perfect for the rolling sandy soils. About the same time frame, big feedlots were built due to the low-humidity climate. This created a good market for corn.
In the early 1970s, a young Realtor, Mike Justice. moved to Dalhart and realized the abundance of water for irrigation, local market and climate for corn, and low taxes. He launched an advertising campaign to sell an idea to Corn Belt farmers. They could trade one acre for three or four acres in Dalhart, and he showed them how to trade and defer the capital gain taxes. Some 150 farm families hence sold their farms and relocated their families to Dalhart. Each brought from $500,000 to $5 million dollars to the economy. The new residents came from as far away as Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Most of the Yankee transplants did not last long, not understanding the practice of irrigated farming provided a quick retreat back to Yankee land. The most recent target is the dairy industry, being convinced that there is a unlimited supply of water around Dalhart these dairymen have been sold a bill of goods. Only time will tell how long these transplants will survive