Today’s adventure is the agricultural town of Happy that is in the Panhandle of Texas, on Highway 87 in Randall and Swisher counties, part of the wider metropolitan area of Amarillo. Happy is, in fact, on the way to Amarillo.
Understandably, it would be impossible to drive through Happy without humming a certain tune, especially if the day was dawning, on a Sunday morning . Get on the locals good side by mentioning Rockabilly musician Buddy Knox. He is their proudest export.
The name comes from Happy Draw – a watercourse discovered and named by thirsty cowboys. Hugh Currie is credited with establishing the town’s post office near Happy Draw in 1891. It was also the site of a stage horse-changing station.
Hopes of a depot were dashed in 1906 when Happy was bypassed (a mere two miles) by the Santa Fe. A town was established alongside the tracks and Plains Lumber and Grain was the first company to open for business.The towns first store was opened by J. F. White and Happy soon had their own paper – appropriately named “Happy News.”
In 1907 the town was reunited with the post office when it relocated on the new site. The following year the First State Bank of Happy opened its doors.
Happy was incorporated in 1925. Like most of Texas, Happy built it’s infrastructure in the 1920’s. Improvements included the formation of a Volunteer Fire Department and new school construction.
The Depression years passed without incident, and by 1940 there were 576 residents. The population was about the same (588) in 1990 and it has since increased to 687.
The town is overflowing with friendliness and the kind of charm you only get in the American South. There is also pride and community spirit among the tiny population.
One resident has been quoted, “Despite our problems, I’d rather live in Happy any day than Boring (Oregon), Tightwad (Missouri) or No Name (Colorado), though I’ve always been tempted by Sweet Lips, Tennessee.”
- Official Slogan: “The Town Without a Frown.”
- Unofficial Slogan: “We didn’t like the movie either.”
- Rockabilly musician Buddy Knox, was born in Happy and is their proudest export.
- “Happy News” is the town’s newspaper.
- There is only one restaurant, My Happy Place and no places to stay.
- Happy Cemetery – normally a contradiction in terms, though on this occasion it is impossible not to smile.
- All of the shops, bank and five churches are in unremarkable buildings around the one main street.
Join in the drive to our next town which will be Italy but do not worry you do not have to board a plane or ship to get there. Just hop in the car with me and let’s go to Italy.