Thursday, July 2, 2009
Gold in Palo Duro Canyon
Urging the local populace to use Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which turns 75 this weekend, is nothing new. Apparently there was some unusual marketing to get more traffic into the Canyon going back to the 1950s.
Don Williams of Amarillo recalls a gimmick initiated by then-superintendent John McCarty back in the 1950s. Getting into PD Canyon was harder in those days, so McCarty, frustrated by that, had an idea to make it worthwhile.
According to Williams, McCarty had fake gold coins made, each one with a serial number, and a Panhandle merchant donated a prize for each serial number. He had an airplane fly over strategic parts of the Canyon and drop the coins.
"I can remember my family of four spending so many Saturdays or Sundays hiking the canyon looking for those coins," Williams wrote. "My Dad, Mom, and Sis did find some coins but only three I remember. One was for 100 pounds of potatoes from a Hereford produce wholesaler. Our whole neighborhood shared in this prize. Two was a floor lamp given by Taylor Furniture and three was a dinner for four at Myer’s Fried Chicken."
For some reason, that sounds something right out of the 1950s.