Shamrock is a city in Wheeler County, Texas,United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 2,029. 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 ofOklahoma City, Oklahoma, and 291 miles (468 km) northwest of Dallas.
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″W|
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. The neighbors decided to let George name the office. His Irish mother had told him always to depend on a shamrock to bring him good luck, so he suggested “Shamrock” for the name of the office. But when a mysterious fire destroyed his dugout, 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 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.
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.
At its peak, in 1930, Shamrock had a population of 3,778. Despite some rebounds, the city population continues to fluctuate. According to the 2000 census, the city population has dropped to its lowest recorded point with 2,029 residents.
Shamrock holds an annual St. Patrick's Day observance. Astronaut Alan Bean, a native of nearbyWheeler, visited the community on March 13 as the kickoff for the 2015 ceremony. He became on Apollo 12 the fourth of twelve men, eight still living in 2015, to walk on the moon, a feat that he once described as "almost like I couldn’t believe it myself
Shamrock is located at (35.217116, -100.247171).
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.
In 1936, the U-Drop Inn was built at the corner of the U.S. Route 83 and the now historic Route 66. 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. 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. Referred to as "one of the most impressive examples" of Route 66 architecture by the Texas Historical Commission, the U-Drop Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. In May 1999, the First National Bank of Shamrock purchased the then closed U-Drop Inn and gave it to the city of Shamrock. 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 glory and adapt it into a museum, visitors' center, gift shop, and the city's chamber of commerce. The revived U-Drop Inn was featured in the 2006 animated film Cars as the inspiration for the fictional Ramone's body shop.
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 Season 2, Episode 1 of the show Magnum, P.I., the character Billy Joe Little says he and his sister, Carol Ann, whom he is looking for, are from Shamrock.