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Coahuila governor discovers and names Guadalupe River
April 14, 1689

On this day in 1689, Alonso De León, Spanish governor of Coahuila, discovered and named the Guadalupe River at the approximate future site of Victoria, while leading his fourth and final expedition to find and destroy the French settlement at Fort St. Louis. De León, an early advocate of establishing missions along the Texas frontier, blazed much of the Old San Antonio Road in the course of his expeditions. Eight days after discovering the Guadalupe, he and his party of 114 men, which included Damián de Massenet, came upon the ruins of the French settlement on the banks of Garcitas Creek. De León left Texas for the last time in 1690 and died in Coahuila a year later, probably around the age of fifty-two. In 1721 the Spanish built Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía Presidio on the site of Fort St. Louis.

First state museum in Texas opens
April 14, 1933

On this day in 1933, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the first state museum in Texas, opened in Canyon. The museum was an outgrowth of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, founded in 1921 by faculty and students of West Texas State Teachers College, and is a cooperative effort between the society, which owns and controls the collections, and the State of Texas, which provides and maintains the facilities through West Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University Board of Regents. In addition to its major anthropology, geology, paleontology, and natural history collections, the museum has extensive materials on the ranching industry, the Plains Indians, and the oil and gas industry, and galleries devoted to American and European art with an emphasis on such Texas artists as Frank Reaugh and Harold Bugbee.

Fearful dust storm inspires songwriter
April 14, 1935

On this day in 1935 a great dust storm covered the Texas Panhandle town of Pampa, inspiring Woody Guthrie to write the song "So Long, It's Been Good To Know You." Guthrie had moved to Pampa in 1929. Performing with bands at nightclubs and radio stations in the Panhandle, he found his calling as lyricist and musician and began developing skills that later gained him a reputation as a writer, cartoonist, and down-home philosopher. He married a Pampa girl, Mary Jennings, in 1933 and experienced the pain of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, sources of his many songs that appealed to his fellow sufferers. When the great storm of April 14, 1935, occurred, some Pampans thought that the end of the world was upon them and that there was just time for final goodbyes. Tired of dust and poverty, Guthrie left for Los Angeles in 1937.