Each Thursday morning of our 52-County Tour we'll send a duplicate of Wednesday's newsletter (ignore if you've already read it) with any updates here.
1903 Land Rush, Gail, TX"War of the Ribbons" land rush, Gail, Texas, July 25, 1903 (photo courtesy of Borden County Museum)
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour
THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas--places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.
Mushaway Peak
Mushaway Peak (photo courtesy of Borden County Museum)

We invite you to join us throughout 2015 for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour--every Wednesday online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each week, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our regional travel guide here (pdf). And we'll see you along the trail!  
Vintage soft drink sign, Dorward Drug, Gail, Texas
Vintage soft drink sign, Dorward Drug, Gail, Texas
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Briscoe County

Borden County
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
STEP BACK IN TIME  Not long after Borden County and its seat, Gail, were created (and named for condensed-milk inventor Gail Borden), ranchers and farmers competed for claims in a 1903 land rush known as the War of the Ribbons. Established ranchers made their alliance known by blue armbands and "nesters" by red. Today, ranching-and the oil industry-dominate. Borden County's rugged countryside and dramatic mesas and buttes, such as Mushaway Peak and Gail Mountain, have long served as landmarks and gathering places, and the sparsely populated county still recalls frontier days, a time long before before the big rigs rumbled down US Highway 180.

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historical Sites Atlas  guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including  14 listings in Borden County.
Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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Founded  1876   County seat  Gail   Population  641
Communities   Borden Coyotes
DID YOU KNOW?  Borden is the fourth least populous county in Texas.

Borden County Courthouse WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO    You'll know you've arrived in the county seat of Gail when you reach the traffic signal at the intersection of US 180 and FM 669--it's the only one in Borden County.

You'll easily find the courthouse square, which is the heart of Gail's historic downtown. On the grounds is located the old Borden County Jail, where once a pair of criminals refused the sheriff's orders to enter -- because a rattlesnake was already occupying the quarters! Behind the 1939 courthouse is the Borden County Museum, with its treasure trove of artifacts and documents.
R. D. Hurley's ribbon from the 1903 land rush (Borden County Museum)
R. D. Hurley's ribbon from the 1903 land rush (Borden County Museum)
Across the street from the courthouse steps is Gail's oldest surviving wooden building, the Dorward Drug store that was once the heart of the community. In the years when the drugstore had the county's only telephone, messages were delivered to townsfolk and ranchers along with medicines and sundries. In 2014 the structure was restored, preserving much of its original appearance; it is open by request (a sign in the door invites you to call 806-756-4434).
Dorward Drug store, Gail, Texas
Gail's Dorward Drug, still a focal point of downtown

Historical markers in Borden County tell of the region's important Native American heritage. A giant arrow marker on the Quanah Parker Trail commemorates Quanah's last campsite prior to accepting surrender orders on behalf of his Quahadi band.

Gail has an inviting new community center on US 180 just east of town, an impressive public school complex west of town, a small RV park, and a smattering of retail businesses. Be sure to grab a tasty plate of nachos at the Coyote Country Store -- but gas up before you get there!

Phone booth in Dorward Drug
Original phone booth in Dorward Drug
PLAN AHEAD  2,900-foot Gail Mountain rises several hundred feet above the elevation of Gail, Texas, west of the city. Once called Mount Jake in honor of a soldier who served with Ranald S. Mackenzie in 1874, the peak has been topped in recent decades by a giant star that is lighted annually from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Star on Gail Mountain
Lighted star on Gail Mountain, Christmas Day 2011 (photo by Julie Smith, Texas AgriLife)
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  Ace of Hearts Borden
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip. Pre-order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $6 per deck, in custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

Kids and Dog in Car

TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME   At the age of 52, Gail Borden, Jr., invented
Gail Borden, Jr. (Borden County Musuem)
Gail Borden, Jr. (Borden County Museum)
the canned-food staple we know today -- condensed milk. With little formal schooling, he came to Galveston, Texas, from his native New York (by way of Indiana and Mississippi) with plans to start a newspaper. By the 1840s, after serving in civil service posts in Texas, he began experimenting with refrigeration, packaged foods, and condensed juices. Demand for his condensed milk product during the Civil War made Borden a rich man -- but he never set foot in the county, or city, that are named for him.   (Wikipedia; Handbook of Texas Online)

Gail, Texas is also the answer to last week's quiz.
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Borden County 1952
Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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Texas Time Travel posters
It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to give away.

To win a full set of these attractive 24 x 30 Texas Heritage Trails posters, suitable for framing, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.

Where would you find Texas' official state bison herd grazing? (If you answer "out in a field," you're disqualified.)

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Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.  Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Did you know you can add your own events to the website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Be watching for an announcement about our May 2, 2015 (5/2, get it?) tourism event to kick off National Travel & Tourism Week, focusing on the value of tourism to our nation, state, and region.

Every week's issue is archived on our website. Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

Copyright 2015 Texas Plains Trail Region. All Rights Reserved.