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Travel: the Return of Pampa

After reading the feedback from my last blog (the Panhandle of Texas), it became apparent to me that I was not finished with the town of Pampa just quite yet.

Because of e-mails and comments from my readers, I was able to get an even deeper look at the town of Pampa. I learned so much about this hard working community that so many call their home.


Pampa was a highly industrial town which lead to its high economic success. The Celanese chemical plant and the Cabot Corporation’s carbon black facility gave thousands of jobs to the residents of Pampa and other surrounding towns. Many workers’ wives were teachers at Pampa High School. They carried a huge amount of pride for their education and still try today even with a smaller student population.

Randy Matson (Photo: Wikipedia)
Randy Matson (Photo: Wikipedia)

Pampa was also highly envied for their excellence in extra-curricular activities — especially sports. Their men’s basketball team won many championships with the football team carrying just as many next to their name.

Still to this day, you can see the Pampa High School emblem in any shop window and everyone has a huge amount of pride for their high school sport teams. Olympic gold medalist in shot put, Randy Matson, was also a product of Pampa which proves their sport programs were doing something right.

As a former band kid, I was extra excited to learn about the Pride of Pampa, which is the high school’s marching band. Not only have they brought championship after championship home for their school, but they have even been invited to do the half time show for the NFL in the early 1960’s. Even though the size of their band has been decreasing over the years, they still carry themselves with high standards and make beautiful music.

Now, I wanted to be sure to update my list of things to do in Pampa because let’s be honest, my weekend didn’t even come to covering all the activities to get done in Pampa.

Coney Island, Pampa, Texas (Photo:
Coney Island Cafe, Pampa, Texas (Photo:
  1. Eat at the Coney Island Café which I heard they have awesome chili dogs and homemade pies.
  2. Visit Pak-a-Burger – a place that has fed hungry residents with yummy burgers and fries for many years.
  3. Take a trip to the White Deer Land Museum to learn more about Pampa and the area around the town.
  4. Ride cardboard down Central Park hill. From what I’ve heard, this hill is pretty steep and will give anyone a thrill.
  5. Check of Braum’s. They have delicious ice cream and you won’t find one north of Oklahoma.

Over the years, I have learned that if you want the full experience of a place, you must do what the locals do. I can guarantee the next time I visit Pampa, I will check all these items off my list too.

I was thanked by many people for writing the last blog about Pampa. My ultimate goal was to give the much needed recognition to Pampa. I can only hope I did the town justice and people outside of Pampa will see the town as a wonderful hidden gem of Texas. Pampa might be a small place, but it is full of people who have huge hearts for their town and the people who call Pampa their home.

Collegian Travel Blogger Katelyn Mitchell can be reached online at or on Twitter at @mitch_kate_.

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  • D

    Danny DouglasApr 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Just found your blog, on your return to Pampa. It indeed was an industrious little city, when I lived there for a couple of years, and also over in McLean. Do not know if you have visited old town McLean, but you need to do so, if you havent. Not half the people there now, that were citizens in the town back in the 40s-70s, but the two museums are worth the effort of the extra 26 miles on your car. By the way, Pampa was a bump in the road, when McLean was fighting Lefors for the right of being the county seat, but Pampa was finally selected, because of the railroad coming through there (even though McLean alread had a railroad. In my day, Pampa was headquarters for the Adobe Walls Council, Boy Scouts of America, and I was a member of troop 16 there, and 25 in McLean, at the same time. There were (I think) four Scout districts working out of there, all across the Panhandle from Canadian, up through Dumas, East to Shamrock and down through Wellington. An active population of boys and Leaders. Today, that whole area has just become one large disctrict, under the Council office in Amartillo. The population of the Texas Panhandle has sadly fallen badly. Its still a good place to visit, and call home, although I have been away for 50 years now.

  • D

    DeannaApr 26, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Great article. Another place to see is the Freedom Museum USA on Hobart St in Pampa. It is a museum filled with military memorabilia from even before the Revolutionary war to the present. It also has some cool planes and vehicles, etc.

  • L

    Leah PearsonApr 26, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    When you do come back to Pampa, Mr. Brenden Rice needs to take you to Palo Duro Canyon to see the musical TEXAS and eat at the Big Texan. May not be Pampa but its part of the pride of the Panhandle.