Charles Goodnight established his ranch in the Palo Duro Canyon in 1876. In 1877, Leigh Dyer, Goodnight’s brother-in-law, drove 400 cattle up the canyon to the area near Canyon, Texas and started the first ranch in Randall County. He wintered his cattle near the Fal de Hour (The Great Falls, part of the Currie Ranch) in the valley surrounding the falls. He built the first house of any significance one mile north of Canyon, Texas and this became the headquarters for the T-Anchor Ranch. Jot Gunter and John Summerfield were paid with land by the railroads for the surveying they did for them. They partnered with a Mr. Munson and the three of them bought Dyer out of the T-Anchor ranch in 1878.
They had to drive their initial herds from Doan’s Store on the Red River to the new ranch. They were forced to divert their herd northward around the JA ranch. In 1881, two line camps were established for the line riders. One of these camps was near the Fal de Hour.
In 1881, the owners of the T-Anchor fenced in the eastern part of Randall County in a pasture approximately 240,000 acres in size, which was the first fence in the panhandle area. In 1882, Gunter bought out Summerfield and moved onto the ranch. He called the ranch ‘T-Anchor’ which was the official beginning of the ranch by that name.
In 1882, the T-Anchor ranch herded 10,652 cattle from near the south line fence to the ranch headquarters. Before they began the drive, it took a trotting horse an hour to encircle the herd. The lead cattle reached the ranch before the lagging cattle got started. The drive took about six hours. This was the largest cattle drive on record in the country. The T-Anchor made their first drive to Dodge City in the fall of 1882.
In 1883, the Gunters sold out to Munson who in 1885 sold the ranch to Cedar Valley Land Company, an English-based company. The cattle drives stopped in 1887 when the Santa Fe railroad came to Amarillo.
Canyon, Texas came into being in 1889. With the county taxing the 80 sections, the ranch finally failed. Hudson and Powers leased the block and operated it until 1902.
John J. ("Jinks") Currie was born near Toronto, Canada February 4, 1868 to Martha and Hugh Currie. In 1878, Hugh Currie moved his family to Terrell, Texas where Jinks went to school. In 1889 the family moved to the area near Happy where Hugh’s property adjoined the west border of the JA ranch.
In 1909, Jinks bought the present Currie ranch consisting of 28 sections including seven miles of the Palo Duro Canyon. Jinks fostered the concept of protecting wildlife on the ranch which has carried forward to this day. Jinks ran a cow-calf operation on the ranch.
In the late ‘30’s, Jinks sold part of the ranch to Mr. Harding that included the land under Lake Tanglewood, The Great Falls and Devil’s Kitchen. Harding opened the area to the public and had a restaurant, a dance pavilion, and featured site-seeing around the Falls and Devil’s kitchen. Graduates of the area high schools had graduation parties there. For a while it was a popular recreational area. It was sold to J. Levi and gradually lost its attraction. Jinks reacquired the land.
When Jinks Currie died in 1945, the ranch fell under the ownership of David Hugh Currie and John J Currie, Jr. Hugh was given the southern land and the lower Palo Duro Canyon land and John obtained the upper Canyon and the land north of the canyon. John Currie built his home where the Harding improvements were, later clearing out the deteriorating structures. John traded some land to Hugh which included some of the land along the creek which would later lie below Tanglewood Dam. Hugh built a home, Cedarways, in a draw below the original Currie ranch headquarters. This home remains with his wife, Roberta Currie, to the present day.
In 1962, John and Hugh culminated an agreement with Roy Stockton, who was to construct a dam at the site of the present Lake Tanglewood Dam. This dam washed out in a heavy rain in the summer of 1962 and caused major destruction to cottonwood groves down the canyon. Other investors came along and assisted Roy in completing the dam and the community of Lake Tanglewood was born.
In 1980, Hugh Currie died and his portion of the ranch fell to his sons, Hugh Bob Currie and James David Currie. In the 1980’s, Hugh Bob and Jim traded land that they owned under Lake Tanglewood to John Currie for the land that John owned adjacent to Lake Tanglewood on its west border.
In 1998, Hugh Bob and Jim Currie decided to look for a managing partner to help them develop this topland west of Lake Tanglewood overlooking the canyons.Graham agreed to partner with the Curries.
The Canyon Lands Ltd. was formed. Seventeen-hundred acres out of the Currie brothers 8,600 acres were earmarked for the project. Phases I and II (84 lots) was to be developed initially. The date was Summer 1998.
Slowly and methodically, the partners carefully planned each step of their relationship and their project. Surveying and mapping of the project was done using stereoscopic aerial photographs. With the help of computer programs, this activity yielded accurate topographical maps in areas where the rough lay of the land made old style surveying questionable.
After the maps and surveying were completed, points were located on the land using geodesic satellite within an accuracy of one foot. Using the maps, engineers determined the best sites for roads. At the same time the partners walked out the property trying to determine the best borders for the scenic lots. Lots were staked and the roads were then cut and paved with caliche. Eighty foot roadbeds were laid out which fulfilled specifications for county roads although the partners decided to make the whole development a private, gated-community with controlled access. Several months later the roads were paved with asphalt.
To protect the environment and to make sure that buyers of the land agreed with the partners’ philosophy of protecting the land, fairly strict covenants were carefully agreed upon by the partners after hours of meetings. This was not to be a usual community. This was to be a special community where people were able to get close to nature, to animals and to live a quieter, slower life. Here people were to be able to "slow down and smell the roses."
The partners wanted the people of the community to be able to develop close relationships with one another. It was decided that lots would be big enough that people had room and had some distance from their neighbors. On the other hand, the lot perimeters could not be enclosed by fencing. This was to be an open community. It also prevented the pasturing of horses to the point of overgrazing, polluting the adjacent properties and the canyon itself. People could fence a portion of their lot around their house and barn if they wanted privacy or a space to enclose their horses.
To make sure that no obtrusive architectural designs detracted from the community, all building plans had to be okayed by an architectural committee. Houses couldn’t be built right on the edge of the canyon wall to protect views that other homeowners were to have of the canyon rims. The partners wanted a project where each lot owner knew what to expect from their neighbors and were willing to give up a few of their own choices to get a community of agreeable people living in a very desirable place.
The county roads were paved from Washington Street to the paved roads of The Canyons in May, 2000. Lots were bought and houses begun. By January, 2001 five families were living in the project. A rough road had been carved out of the canyon rim to allow access to the 10 lakefront lots on Lake Tanglewood that the developers planned to sell. In the spring of 2001 it was time to start Phase III and IV.
By 2003 the road into the canyon servicing the Lake Lots was paved. The underground utilities for the Lake Lots were put in place. The Lake lots were put up for sale.
In 2003, the Currie brothers bought out Dick Graham's interest and the managementl of The Canyons was taken over by Jim Currie. The Currie brothers decided to open a new area including choice rim lots late in 2005. In the summer of 2007, Unit 6 was opened containing 17 new home sites.