Sunday, October 04, 2015
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Hotel Turkey, Turkey, Texas

This gateway to Palo Duro Canyon, Turkey, Texas enjoys more than meets the eye.

Opened in 1927, the Hotel Turkey Bed and Breakfast is this small panhandle town's only hostelry. Located on the main drag at 3rd Street and Alexander, the hotel was erected to provide lodging for passengers of Turkey's newly incorporated railroad. The town garnered its name from the flocks of wild turkeys that roamed a small nearby creek. Originally called Turkey Creek, and known as the Turkey Roost by locals, the name was shortened to plain ole' Turkey by the time the hotel was built.

Turkey native Bob Wills is known as the father of Western Swing and was once the country's most successful bandleader. He was raised in Turkey and frequently played his fiddle in the hotel's parlor. Every year, during the last weekend of April, Turkey's population swells as it commemorates Wills' birthday with a festival.

In addition to the fame Turkey has gotten from Wills, the hotel itself attracts its own kind of visitor. During cold winter nights the front desk bell is heard ringing, when it's answered, no one is there. The next morning room number 20 always seems to be occupied, even when no one has signed the register. The bed looks as though it has been slept in. Not because the sheets have been pulled back, but because there is a distinct impression of a body. It looks like this person has laid down with its legs crossed at the ankles, hands under its head, and arms stretched out. There is also the shape of one boot heel at the foot of the bed. After some research, the Hotel Turkey's owner believes this is the spirit of an old cowboy. During the hotel's early days he would often request room number 20 due to its two walls of windows. They face to the east and south, giving the room a more exterior feel. Even on those frigid Texas nights, cowboys could stay nice and warm while being as close to under the star as possible.

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