The town was established by Methodist minister L.H. Carhart in 1878 as a "sobriety settlement" in contrast to typical boomtowns of that era. It earned the sobriquet "Saints Roost" from local cowboys. It is the seat of Donley County. Many fossilized specimens from the Clarendonian Age are found near here. Locals call Clarendon home of "trailblazers, cattle barons, cowboys, preachers, teachers, sodbusters, merchants, craftsmen, artists, old bones and old fossils … and maybe a few saints!" Today, farming and ranching remain the primary economy of the county. Birding and wildlife viewing, as well as hunting, now popular in area. The Sandell Drive-In is an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater that shows first-run movies year-round.
The Bar H Dude Ranch offers chuck-wagon breakfast and dinner along with activities such as horseback riding, cattle drives and birding trails. Ranch also offers 10-acre cane maze Sept.–Nov.
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