Channing is a city in Hartley County, Texas, in the United States.It is thecounty seat of Hartley County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 363.
XIT Ranch General Office in Channing
Location of Channing, Texas
Channing was founded in 1888 by George Channing Rivers, a paymaster for the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway. The settlement was originally called Rivers. Since the name Rivers duplicated another community in Texas, the name was changed to Channing later that year.Channing developed directly from its association with the XIT Ranch, a property that once included land in as many as ten counties in the Texas Panhandle. In 1891, Willis D. Twitchell platted Channing's business district. At that time, Channing was the headquarters of the XIT. Albert Boyce, the ranch's general manager and one of the most prominent early citizens, built the first house in the community. By 1900, Channing had two stores, a post office, lumber yard, and school. Two elections, one in November 1896 and the other in 1903, were required for Channing to replace Hartley as county seat. The frame courthouse was pulled to Channing on wheels by mounted XIT cowboys in 1903. A brick courthouse was completed in 1906 and the original courthouse was converted into the once famous Hotel Rivers. One of the first public libraries in the Panhandle was established in 1908 by a local women's club. The estimated population at this time was about 600.
The XIT, which conducted most of its business from Channing, was the town's chief customer until liquidation of the ranch in 1911. The local economy was severely impacted, although the real estate market temporarily thrived from the sale of XIT lands. A fire swept through the business district on September 6, 1931, destroying seven buildings including Hotel Rivers. By 1940, Channing had an estimated population of 475 with several businesses, a high school, and three churches. A restored XIT office building is located in Channing as a museum.
Channing was incorporated in 1960. At the time of incorporation, the population was 390. The number of inhabitants declined to 336 in 1970, 304 in 1980, and 277 in 1990, mainly because of its accessibility to larger communities like Dalhart and Amarillo. By 2000, the population rose to 356, a 28.5 percent increase over the 1990 figure.
City government consists of a mayor and two city council members. Mayor Karen Schulz was elected to fill a vacancy in May 2009. Current council members are Ms. Janie Ray and Ms. Betty Edwards.
Law enforcement is provided by the Hartley County Sheriff's Office as the City does not have a police force of its own. Fire protection for the City, and much of southern Hartley County is provided by an all volunteer fire department, headquartered in the City. Fire Chief as of October 2009 was Jeremy Tunnell.
As of October 2009 there were a limited number of businesses operating in the City, a cafe, mercantile and a rendering plant. Most citizens were either involved in ranching, dairy or other agricultural professions, or were employed in businesses in surrounding communities.
The City of Channing is served by the Channing Independent School District. One school building Channing School houses all grades and is located in the western part of the city.