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This windmill dates back to the 1960’s when it was put in to provide water for cattle on the Frying Pan Ranch. Prior to widespread irrigation lowering the water table in the Texas Panhandle, water from West Amarillo Creek was sufficient for the cattle. The creek bed runs less than a hundred yards west of the windmill but has been dry for many years. There are remnants of a boat dock along the creek some quarter mile north of the windmill. It harkens back to a time when the creek ran full and deep. The Frying Pan Ranch was established in 1881 by Joseph Glidden, inventor of barbed wire, and Henry Sanborn. In 1892 Glidden’s son-in-law William Bush bought the 250,000 acre ranch from Glidden and Sanborn.
Caroline Bush Emeny inherited one third of the Frying Pan known as the wildcat section where the windmill stands. She donated the section for establishment of a nature center and Wildcat Bluff Nature Center was founded in 1992. The name comes from a rock outcropping overlooking the river valley early cowboys dubbed Wildcat Bluff when they saw a wildcat (bobcat) raising her kittens among the boulders beneath the bluff.
The Beef Burger hamburger stand has been around as long as I can remember, which is getting to be a pretty long time, and if it isn’t considered an Amarillo icon on a par with the Big Texan steakhouse, it ought to be. The hamburgers are the ordinary kind I remember from the 50’s and pretty darn good. You can get a hamburger, fries and a cold drink for less than the price of a small latte. At least half the vehicles parked in front during a weekday lunch hour are pickups. It’s a working man’s kind of place.