Great Texas ranch of international fame. Payment made in an 1882 contract for the construction of granite capitol building in Austin. As contractors, some out-of-state investors (headed by the wealthy Chicago merchants, John V. and Senator C.B. Farwell) built the largest state capitol in North America and received in payment 3,000,000-acres of land. The grant, 200 miles long and of varying widths (enclosed later by a 6,000-mile barbed wire fence), extended from near site of present Lubbock to the Oklahoma line 40 miles north of here. It included land in counties of Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Hartley, Hockley, Lamb, Oldham, and Parmer. Trail Boss Abner Blocker delivered first herd to Buffalo Springs in 1885 and scratched the "XIT" in corral dust with boot heel to design famous brand. Although its land was parceled and sold, the XIT lives in Texas memories -especially here, 32 miles south of its Buffalo Springs headquarters. Dalhart holds an annual XIT reunion with rodeo and parade featuring a horse with an empty saddle, in honor of range riders of the past. Permanent tribute to XIT cowboys is this "empty saddle" monument, designed by western artist Bobby Dycke, dedicated in 1940.