Clarendon is a city in Donley County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,974 at the 2000 census. The county seat of Donley County,Clarendon is located on United States Highway 287 in the Texas Panhandlesixty miles east of Amarillo.
Clarendon welcome sign on United States Highway 287
Location of Clarendon, Texas
Before the rise of Amarillo, Clarendon, along with Mobeetie in Wheeler County, and Tascosa in Oldham County, was one of the three original Panhandle settlements. Established in 1878, Clarendon moved after it was bypassed by the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad.
The town founder was a Methodist clergyman L.H. Carhart, who envisioned a "sobriety settlement" in contrast to typical boom towns of that era. Clarendon acquired the sobriquet "Saints Roost" from local cowboys: hence the unusual name of the Clarendon museum, the Saints' Roost Museum.
The Sandell Drive-In, built by Gary Barnhill (born 1920) and named after his daughters, Sandra and Adele, opened on Texas State Highway 70 in 1955 and closed in 1984. In 2001, John Earl Morrow (born ca. 1954), a Clarendon resident and owner of Morrow Drilling and Service, purchased the property from the Barnhills and in August 2002 re-opened the drive-in. The facility, which can handle three hundred cars, is operated by Morrow and volunteers during the summers. Morrow was motivated to bring back the facility because he had viewed films there during his childhood.