By Robin Scott
Rick Vanderpool, a state and nationally revered photographer, visited Dalhart on Wednesday, March 24th. The visit was in partnership with the Texas Plains Trail Region through a program from the Texas Historical Commission and Texas Heritage Trails Program and the United States Postal Service to bring a Dalhart cancellation stamp to Dallam County.
A pictorial postmark was created and designed by Vanderpool along with a cache for each of the 52 counties in the Texas Plains Region. Deborah Sue McDonald, Executive Director for TPTR spoke at Wednesday’s festivities. She stated, “Today we are here because of Rick Vanderpool. It was his vision to create a pictorial postmark representing Texas counties.”
Vanderpool, who resides in Commerce, Texas, fondly notes, “I’m from Missouri originally, where Texas really began.” He spoke about how Moses Austin, father of Stephen F. Austin, lived in Missouri mining for lead and creating the state’s first smelting operation. McDonald and Vanderpool are traveling during 2010 to the 52 counties included in the pictorial postmark endeavor.
Also visiting Dalhart for the initial offering of the cancellation were Danyel Parkhurst, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations Officer for the Boys Ranch and Karl W. Rivers, publisher of “Travelhost” magazine, a magazine that appears in many fine hotels across the state. He brought several copies to the event to share with visitors. Inside was an article about the cancellation stamp along side the Dalhart Area Chamber of Commerce ad supporting Dalhart.
Vanderpool noted, “I’ve worked with Karl many times. It has been a privilege to supply him with photography from time to time for his “Travelhost” magazine.” Vanderpool was commissioned by TPTR to photograph the 52 Texas counties included in the region. As he travels through the end of 2010 for the weekly visits to the post offices in the 52 county seats, he chronicles the event on film.
According to Vanderpool, “We visit with the students of Texas History, which are fourth graders and seventh graders. They ask very good questions. What we tell them is that Texas history is being made right here today in Dalhart, Texas, with this cancellation.” Vanderpool and McDonald will travel this year teaching and sharing their experiences. Vanderpool added, “This (the cancellation) is an artifact of history made in Texas on this day.” McDonald added, “People don’t realize what a treasure we have up here in the panhandle. I tell people, you are the head and not the tail of the State of Texas.”
Every Wednesday in 2010 a different post office in a different county will do a pictorial postmark. According to the TPTR, the 52-week event will “Promote travel and heritage tourism by connecting points of pride, and hopefully generate a little revenue for the Postal Service.” The group will be in Channing on June 30th. Vanderpool graciously autographs each cache for those who request it.
According to TPTR, “This photography project will create an outstanding regional archive of high quality professional photos--a minimum of 100 ‘good, useable’ images per county. As we strive to promote the Texas Plains Trail Region, we want the best possible photos that depict our communities, attractions, events, genuine people, and stunning landscapes. We want outsiders to see our Big Region, it’s Big History, and why it is such Big Fun to live here.”
To learn more about Rick Vanderpool visit www.stateart.net, www.whatssograpeabouttexas.com or www.flickr.com/photos/stateart1 or email Vanderpool at firstname.lastname@example.org.