Shamrock, Texas

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Shamrock, Texas

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Shamrock, Texas
Historic U-Drop Inn, a Conoco fuel station restoration in Art Deco style along U.S. Route 66 in Shamrock
Location in Wheeler County and the state of Texas.
Coordinates: 35°13′2″N 100°14′50″WCoordinates35°13′2″N 100°14′50″W
CountryUnited States
First Settled1890
 • Total2.05 sq mi (5.30 km2)
 • Land2.05 sq mi (5.30 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation2,343 ft (714 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total1,910
 • Estimate (2019)[2]1,764
 • Density861.75/sq mi (332.80/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code79079
Area code(s)806
FIPS code48-67160[3]
GNIS feature ID1368050[4]

Shamrock is a city in Wheeler CountyTexas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 1,910.[5] The city is located in the eastern portion of the Texas Panhandle centered along the crossroads of Interstate 40 (formerly U.S. Route 66) and U.S. Route 83. It is 110 miles (180 km) east of Amarillo, 188 miles (303 km) west of Oklahoma City, and 291 miles (468 km) northwest of Dallas.[6]



Located in south-central Wheeler County, Shamrock was the largest town in the county in the late 19th century. George and Dora Nickel consented to keep the first post office in their dugout there in 1890. The mail was to be carried once a week from Mobeetie, Texas. The neighbors decided to let George name the office. His Irish-American mother had told him always to depend on a shamrock to bring him good luck, so holding true to his Irish descent, he suggested “Shamrock” for the name of the office. When a mysterious fire destroyed his dugout, however, George Nickel’s post office never opened. Mary Ruth Jones became Shamrock’s first postmistress, running the Shamrock post office out of the Jones family home.

In 1902, the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway set up a station in the town, calling it “Wheeler” like the county, but later changing it back to the original name of Shamrock in 1903, which prompted the reopening of the Shamrock post office. By 1907, the town was competing with the towns of Story and Benonine as trade centers.[7]

The town continued its growth as other businesses moved into the city, including the county newspaper, which moved from Story and renamed itself from the Wheeler County Texan to the Shamrock Texan, several banks, and Shamrock Cotton Oil Mill. In 1911, E. L. Woodley became the mayor of the newly incorporated city. In 1926, the discovery of oil and the operation of natural gas wells by Shamrock Gas Company helped spur the city’s continuing growth. A decline in the oil industry caused the population to drop in the 1940s, but it rebounded in the next decade with the improvement of Route 66. By the 1980s, the town was home to an established modern school system, a chemical plant, oil and gas processing plants, and a hospital.[7]

At its peak in 1930, Shamrock had a population of 3,778. Despite some rebounds, the city population continues to fluctuate. According to the 2020 census, the city population has dropped to its lowest recorded point with 1,986 residents.[7] Despite this, Shamrock is the second-largest Texas city on Route 66, after Amarillo.


Shamrock is located at 35°13′2″N 100°14′50″W (35.217116, –100.247171).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), all of it land.


hideClimate data for Shamrock, Texas
Average high °F (°C)48
Average low °F (°C)23
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.56
Source: [9]


Historical population
2019 (est.)1,764[2]−7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

2020 census[edit]

White (NH)1,21667.97%
Black or African American (NH)643.58%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH)191.06%
Asian (NH)231.29%
Pacific Islander (NH)20.11%
Some Other Race (NH)90.5%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH)774.3%
Hispanic or Latino37921.19%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,789 people, 850 households, and 553 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2000, 2,029 people, 852 households, and 550 families resided in the city. The population density was 979.7 people per square mile (378.5/km2). The 1,072 housing units averaged 517.6 per square mile (200.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.26% White, 4.83% African American, 1.38% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 5.91% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 13.41% of the population.

Of the 852 households, 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were not families. About 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city, the population was distributed as 25.3% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,776, and for a family was $33,542. Males had a median income of $24,688 versus $16,944 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,724. About 22.7% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[edit]

U-Drop Inn[edit]

Main article: U-Drop Inn

In 1936, the U-Drop Inn was built at the corner of the U.S. Route 83 and the now historic Route 66.[14] At the time of opening, the U-Drop was the only café within 100 miles (160 km) of Shamrock, enjoying brisk business and becoming a successful establishment.[15] Once considered a beautiful and impressive example of Route 66 architecture in Texas, the U-Drop Inn fell into disrepair with the decommissioning of Route 66.[16][17] Referred to as “one of the most impressive examples” of Route 66 architecture by the Texas Historical Commission,[18] the U-Drop Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.[19] In May 1999, the First National Bank of Shamrock purchased the then-closed U-Drop Inn and gave it to the city of Shamrock.[16][20] With a $1.7 million federal grant, the city was able to hire a firm specializing in historical renovation to restore the building to its original condition and adapt it into a museum, visitors’ center, gift shop, and the city’s chamber of commerce.[16][21][22] The revived U-Drop Inn was featured in the 2006 animated film Cars as the inspiration for the fictional Ramone’s body shop.[23]

“Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ya'” slogan in Shamrock, Texas, which hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day observance

Pioneer West Museum[edit]

Pioneer West Museum is housed in the former Reynolds Hotel in Shamrock.

Fort Elliot, home of the 10th Cavalry, display at Pioneer West Museum

Downtown Shamrock on U.S. Highway 83

U.S. Post Office in Shamrock

The Old Reynolds Hotel, a historic building, was saved from demolition and converted into a museum by local residents. The building with 25 rooms was turned into an exhibition hall with pioneer artifacts, typical objects of settlers, and Native American arrowheads. The exhibits range from local historical objects to a space exhibit to a military history exhibit.

Blarney Stone[edit]

Blarney Stone in Shamrock

A kissable chunk of Ireland’s Blarney Stone is located in Shamrock.[24] In 1959, a local organization sent away for the stone to preserve the town’s Irish image.[25] Irish resistance to the stone leaving its homeland led to the stone being escorted by guards and an armored truck.

Festivals and celebrations[edit]

Two annual social gatherings are organized each year to celebrate the founder’s heritage. The annual St. Patrick’s Celebration is held on the weekend closest to St Patrick’s Day. Irish Craftfest is held annually the first weekend of October at the Shamrock Area Community Center.

In popular culture[edit]

  • At the end of the film Cast Away, Chuck Nolan (Tom Hanks) is seen on US Route 83 near Interstate 40, the real-life location of Shamrock.
  • In the movie Cars, Ramone’s House of Body Art is based on the U-Drop-Inn in Shamrock.
  • In season two, episode one of Magnum, P.I., character Billy Joe Little says his sister, Carol Ann, for whom he is looking, and he are from Shamrock.
  • Some parts of the movie Abilene, later named Shadows of the Past, were filmed in the Shamrock area. Ernest Borgnine played the character Hotis Brown.
  • In the pilot episode of The X-Files, Special Agent Fox Mulder notes similarities in the death of Karen Swenson and others from across the country, including one death in Shamrock


The City of Shamrock is served by the Shamrock Independent School District and home to the Shamrock High School Irish.


Major highways[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ “2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Population and Housing Unit Estimates”. United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. Jump up to:a b “U.S. Census website”United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ “US Board on Geographic Names”United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ “Population and Housing Unit Counts, 2010 Census of Population and Housing” (PDF). Texas: 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  6. ^ “Shamrock, Texas Detailed Profile”. Retrieved March 21, 2008.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Anderson, H. Allen (January 18, 2008). “Shamrock, TX”Handbook of Texas (Online Edition)Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on January 12, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2008.
  8. ^ “US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990”United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ “Monthly Averages for Shamrock, TX” Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  10. ^ “Census of Population and Housing”. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ “Explore Census Data” Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  12. ^
  13. ^ “About the Hispanic Population and its Origin” Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  14. ^ Witzel, Michael (April 28, 2003). “Chapter 2: Filling Circumstances: Highway Pump and Circumstance”. Route 66 RememberedOsceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International. p. 79. ISBN 0-7603-1498-5OCLC 51234105.
  15. ^ Witzel, Russel Olsen (May 1, 2004). “Texas”. Route 66, Lost & Found: Ruins and Relics RevisitedOsceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International. p. 84. ISBN 0-7603-1854-9OCLC 55482301.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Degrood, Thomas J. (July–August 2005). “Roadside Renewal”. Texas ArchitectTexas Society of Architects55 (4): 42–43.
  17. ^ Juozapavicius, Justin (May 2, 2007). “Route 66 Motels an Endangered Species”ABC News. Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  18. ^ Rhodes, Andy (2004). “The Mother Road: Nostalgia Drives Visitors to Experience Route 66 in the Texas Panhandle” (PDF). The Medallion. Texas Historical Commission. March–April 2004: 10–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 20, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  19. ^ “Texas – Wheeler County”National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  20. ^ “Shamrock celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in the Panhandle”The Dallas Morning News. March 4, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  21. ^ “Drive 66 (East): Old Route 66 Association of Texas”. Mock Turtle Press and Old Route 66 Association of Texas. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  22. ^ “Tower Station and U-Drop Inn” (PDF). Architexas. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 5, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  23. ^ “Shamrock Texas U-Drop Inn”. Legends of America. Archived from the original on April 3, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  24. ^ Preston, Benjamin (June 28, 2019). “Route 66: Where the past slowly reveals itself and antiquity reigns supreme”RoadtrippersArchived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  25. ^ Donnelly, Erin (March 2002). “Kissing a rock in West Texas will bring you luck—and that’s no Blarney”Texas MonthlyArchived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  26. ^[dead link]
  27. ^ “Book Review”
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[12][13]

External links[edit]

showvteMunicipalities and communities of Wheeler County, Texas, United States
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