Plains Trail Region


The community of Fritch, located in the geographic center of the Panhandle, straddles two counties – Hutchinson and Moore – inspiring some citizens to refer to its location as “Fritch, America”. Established around a Rock Island Railroad depot in 1933 by H. C. Fritch, Vice President of the Rock Island and owner of the right-of-way surrounding the depot, Fritch drew its fortunes from the rise and fall of the oil and gas industry, a cycle of boom and bust that, at one time, saw a number of major gas companies headquartered in the Fritch vicinity. Unincorporated until 1959, Fritch benefited from the creation of Lake Meredith, a reservoir established along the Canadian River courtesy of the construction of the Sanford Dam. The lake quickly became a recreational destination for anglers and boaters and its banks, home to the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, continues to draw history buffs as well as weekend vacationers. The nearby Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, a 45,000-acre Great Plains park protecting remnant short-grass prairie, canyon lands, and the unusual Alibates dolomite (source of the chert used by High Plains prehistoric cultures for over 12,000 years), is part of the National Park Service with a headquarters in downtown Fritch.

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. The museum features dioramas of local wildlife specimens, interpretive exhibits on the flint quarries and the local playa lakes, and two 4000-gallon aquariums featuring the local fish species of Lake Meredith and the Canadian River.