In 1878, the Reverend Lewis Henry Carhart had an idea to establish a town where Christian values would be promoted. Activities such as drinking and gambling were looked down upon and there were no saloons allowed. The local cowboys nicknamed the town “Saint’s Roost.”
Named for his wife Clara, Clarendon sprang to life along the banks of Carrol Creek. This Panhandle town was promoted by the Rev. Carhart and his brother-in-law to settlers back east and was backed by an English Investment and Land agency.
Clara Carhart never really took to her namesake and spent most of her time living near Dallas. The Reverend also didn’t stay long in Clarendon. He served as a Methodist Minister in Dallas, left and went to England, lived in Arkansas, and finally moved to California.
Saint’s Roost town moved in 1887 to be closer to the railroad and have the advantages of a railroad town. Clarendon prospered and eventually became the county seat of Donley County. In its heyday, Clarendon boasted the first newspaper in the panhandle, a college, a public school, a photography studio, many businesses, and even a 2 story hotel.
When the Greenbelt Reservoir was built in 1968, the original townsite of Saint’s Roost was flooded by water. The original cemetery was moved.
If you plan on visiting nearby Palo Duro Canyon, stop by and visit Clarendon. You will love seeing the 1894 stone courthouse and visit the Saints Roost Museum! There is a lot to see and do in the Clarendon area and the people are very friendly.