Claude is a city in and the county seat of Armstrong County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,196 at the 2010 census. It is located east ofAmarillo in the south Texas Panhandle. Claude is part of the AmarilloMetropolitan Statistical Area but is some thirty miles east of Amarillo.
A view of Claude on U.S. Highway 287, with historic pharmacy building on the left.
Location of Claude, Texas
During the first half of the 16th century, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Coronado and his party passed through Claude and Tule Canyon, a scenic wonder to the south of Claude off Texas State Highway 207.
Claude was originally named Armstrong City after several area ranches named Armstrong. The name, however, was changed to Claude in 1887.Claude Ayers, the engineer of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, the first train to travel through the area, requested that the town be named in his honor.
When Armstrong County was formed in 1890, Claude and Washburncompeted to be the county seat. The tie-breaking vote for Claude was reportedly cast by the legendary cattleman Charles Goodnight, former co-owner of the nearby JA Ranch. The Armstrong County Courthouse in Claude dates to 1912.
W.A. Warner (1864-1934), a physician in Claude, organized Boy Scouts of America Troop 17 in the spring of 1912. Thirty boys met in his drugstore. As scoutmaster, Dr. Warner trained many of the future civic leaders of Claude. During his medical career, Warner delivered some two thousand babies. Mrs. Warner, the former Phebe Kerrick (1866-1935) became an active community leader in Claude. Both were Illinois natives.
W.S. Decker established a weekly newspaper, The Claude Argus, which later merged with the Goodnight News to become The Claude News in 1890.
The Armstrong County Museum has local and western-themed exhibits.
Several films, including Hud starring Paul Newman (1963), Leap of Faith, and Sunshine Christmas (1977), starring Cliff DeYoung and the closing sunset scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), were made in and about Claude.
The Claude Independent School District serves Claude and home to the Claude High School Mustangs.
The first school in Claude was built in 1883. In 1907, a three-story building replaced the original building at a cost of $14,000. Unfortunately, years later a fire burned most of this building down. The portion of the building that was restored currently houses the Claude Junior High School.
During the 1930s, Claude had the only official-sized gymnasium in the area. The West Texas State College (now West Texas A&M University) basketball team used it on numerous occasions.