About This Place
Canadian is the county seat of Hemphill County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,233 at the 2000 census. It is named for the Canadian River, a tributary of the nearby Arkansas River. Canadian is sometimes called "the oasis of the Texas Panhandle."
The trails along the river are older than recorded history. Francisco Coronado came through the area in 1541 in a vain search for the Seven Cities of Cibola. In 1840, Josiah Gregg and thirty-four men from Missouri passed through Canadian with trading goods worth $25,000 en route to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1849, parties headed for the California gold rush passed through, led by Captain Randolph B. Marcy. In the 1870s and 1880, hunters, cattlemen, and settlers alike used the trails as the Panhandle was opened for civilization.
In the first decade of the 20th century, Canadian was a railroad and marketing center, with a Baptist academy. Robert Moody (1838–1915), a banker, rancher, and academy trustee, built the Moody Hotel downtown to reflect on the future of the community. The three-story, brick-veneer structure replaced the former McIntosh Hotel. The Moody opened late in 1910 with forty guest rooms and an oak stairway. The hotel flourished until changing travel plans caused it to close. It now houses the Abraham Companies. Robert Moody's grandson, Robert R. Young, also a native of Canadian, was subsequently the chief officer of the New York Central Railroad.