About LMAWM & Fritch
Fritch, Texas, “Fritch, America” is a small town located in southwestern Hutchinson County and partly in Moore County, got its start as a railroad town in 1927. Located on State Highway 136, Fritch is located about 12 miles west of Borger. The typically flat High Plains are broken up into canyons and draws by the Canadian River. The town got its start in 1924 when the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad arranged to purchase a right-of-way through land owned by three ranchers — James M. Sanford, J. H. Johnson, and Roy B. Wright. However, two more years would pass before the railroad began working on the spur line between Amarillo, Texas, and Liberal, Kansas.
By July 1, 1927, the tracks had reached what would become the town of Fritch. The railroad named the depot in honor of H.C. “Fred” Fritch, a vice-president of the railroad line. A post office was established the following year, on March 10, 1928, with John W. Hardin as the first postmaster, but it would be several years before the town would be officially established. One of the earliest residents was Anna Schowe Wilson, the first teacher in the Sanford-Fritch School District. She taught at the Johnson Ranch camp near Antelope Creek, between Sanford and Fritch. When she moved her family to Fritch in 1929, the town was made up of only tar paper shacks and tents, and there was no water or electricity in the settlement. Water was hauled into town in barrels from nearby ranches and was sold for 25¢ a barrel. In 1930, an early resident described Fritch as having just about seven families — Newport, House, Law McGee, Alexander, Perry Marsh, and Anna Schowe Wilson. At that time, Mrs. McGee taught school to 8 students in a room of the home of Mr. House. His home also had one room that served as a small grocery store.
Though there were five major gas companies located in the vicinity in the wake of the oil boom, the growth of Fritch was slow during its first several decades. In 1940 it had a store, a post office, and an estimated population of just 75 people. However, the construction of Sanford Dam on the Canadian River prompted Fritch to incorporate in 1959. By the time of the dam’s completion in 1965, the city reached its peak population of 2,800 and boasted two schools, six churches, a bank, and numerous businesses.
By 1980 Fritch had 31 businesses and a population of 2,299. Ten years later, it reached its peak population of 2,335. Afterward, the town faced both administration problems and natural disasters. A tornado in 1992 and a fire in 2014 were responsible for destroying several homes. Nearby Lake Meredith, along with the rest of the Texas Panhandle, was also going through a severe drought, lowering the lake levels to 27.03 feet or just or 1.3% capacity, and the Harbor Marina and docks were closed and removed. However, with more recent rainfall, the lake is rebounding.
Today, Fritch is called home to about 2,000 people. Though it is primarily a bedroom community with most citizens commuting to nearby Borger and Amarillo for work, it still has a couple of significant employers in the area, including Pantex, ConocoPhillips, and Agrium. The National Park Service headquarters for Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is located in Fritch, and the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, on the southeastern shore of Lake Meredith, is near Fritch in Potter County.
Fritch is located adjacent to the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, offering residents and visitors ample opportunities for outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and seasonal hunting. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, the only U.S. National Monument in Texas, is located near the town.
Recent years of rain have restored lake levels to around 75 feet, which hasn’t just rejuvenated the area’s boating and fishing traffic—Meredith offers the best walleye fishing in the state, but also breathed new life into Hutchinson County itself. Fritch is the nearest true lake town, a community of 2,000 on Meredith’s eastern shore. From Wright-On Bait, Tackle & Watercraft Rental at the Sanford-Yake boat ramp to the Lake Meredith Aquatic and Wildlife Museum, Fritch residents’ livelihoods are closely tied to lake traffic.
Fritch serves as gateway to a host of natural and cultural history and provides an overview to heritage travelers in pursuit of this unique resource via the Lake Meredith Aquatic and Wildlife Museum.
Lake Meredith Aquatic and Wildlife Museum is located in Fritch, near beautiful Lake Meredith, just 30 miles Northeast of Amarillo. The museum features two aquariums that display the fish variety in Lake Meredith, and realistic wildlife dioramas displaying local wildlife in their natural habitats. Other displays include lives of the native Americans from 900 AD to 1200 AD, interactive exhibits and educational programs to encourage the youth to preserve and protect the local wildlife and their habitats. The museum offers free admission.
The Lake Meredith Aquatic and Wildlife Museum depends largely on member contributions and donations. Anyone may become a member of this fine institution which has been available to our community for over 40 years. Membership in the Museum also brings with it additional benefits including discounts in the Museum gift shop, a quarterly newsletter, and invitations to special events throughout the year.
The LMAWM offers memberships as listed below: