Foard County Fair on the Square 2015
Crowell's 2015 Fair on the Square brought visitors of all ages to enjoy fun and sunshine.
 (Photo from Fire Hall Museum Facebook page)
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.

We invite you to join us throughout 2015 for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour--once a week 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 TexasPlainsTrail.com 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 THC regional travel guide here (pdf).
And we'll see you along the trail!  
Fire Hall Museum, Crowell, Texas
Crowell's Fire Hall Museum preserves the town's history inside and out.
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Foard County, Texas
 
Foard County, Texas 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
SPARSELY POPULATED FOARD COUNTY is a destination where visitors can still appreciate an unspoiled vista of rolling hills something like wanderers of previous centuries enjoyed. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, "Evidences of prehistoric animals and primitive man have been unearthed in Foard County. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the abundance of wild fruits and herbs made this area a favorite haunt of Comanche and Kiowa bands, who frequently camped there during the winter as they followed the migrating buffalo herds. Pedro Vial is thought to have come through the area in 1786."


Cynthia Ann Parker and daughter Topsanna after their return to Parker family
Cynthia Ann Parker and daughter Topsannah after their capture and return to Parker family

Pease River site, Foard County, Texas
In Foard County, near the present-day town of Margaret, Cynthia Ann Parker and daughter were found by Capt. Sul Ross and the Texas Rangers in 1860. The site along the river, peaceful today, is located on private propery. (Photo by Holle Humphries)
But the most notorious chapter of Texas history to have occurred here is the recapture of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white woman captured as a girl by Indians and raised among the Comanches. On December 18, 1860, Sul Ross and the Texas Rangers, scouting for the camp of Chief Peta Nocona, attacked a group of Comanches along the Pease River near present-day Margaret, between Crowell and Vernon. Taking note of the blue eyes of a mother carrying a child, the soldiers guessed the woman's identity and took them, to return them to her Parker relatives -- while killing the others. The full story of what came to be known as "The Battle of Pease River" is well researched and told in Paul H. Carlson and Tom Crum's Myth, Memory, and Massacre: The Pease River Recapture of Cynthia Ann Parker (Texas Tech University Press, 2010). 
 (Information from texasalmanac.com and tshaonline.org)

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  23 listings in Foard County.  Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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FOARD COUNTY QUICK FACTS
Founded  1891  County seat  Crowell
Population  1,336

Communities   Crowell    Foard City   Margaret    Rayland    Thalia    Vivian

Mascots  Crowell Wildcats

Mounted hog trophy (photo by Holle Humphries)
 
DID YOU KNOW?
Crowell, Texas, bills itself as the Wild Hog Capital of the World
-- with a plentiful supply of the animal to be hunted day and night, and  the World Championship Wild Hog Cook-off in the fall. (Mounted hog trophy photo by Holle Humphries) 

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO
Fire Hall Museum, Crowell 
 
YOU'LL BE HOT ON THE TRAIL OF FOARD COUNTY HISTORY at Crowell's Fire Hall Museum, a converted firehouse that now contains  a rich collection of artifacts and photos. Check their website for hours. There's also a restored Santa Fe train depot, for railroad buffs.
 
On the downtown square are a pair of memorial statues honoring World War I military heroes. The fascinating stories behind these monuments is related on Wikipedia:

"'The Spirit of the American Doughboy' is a pressed copper sculpture by E. M. Viquesney, designed to honor the veterans and casualties of World War I. Mass-produced during the 1920s and 1930s for communities throughout the United States, the statue's design was the most popular of its kind, spawning a wave of collectible miniatures and related memorabilia as well as numerous copies by other artists. Its title is often shortened to 'The Doughboy,' and in some locales it is nicknamed Iron Mike."

"Another statue, created as a companion to the Doughboy, was entitled 'Spirit of the American Navy.' This version depicted a sailor in a working uniform holding his cover aloft in his right hand. Far less popular than the Doughboy, only seven were made. All the known Navy statues are installed as part of a set along with a Doughboy statue, or occur nearby, as one of each at the ends of a bridge. . . . The only stone version of the 'Spirit of the American Navy' is found in Crowell, Texas according to a Nov. 2, 2011 article by Daniel Walker in The Vernon Daily Record."

Crowell, TX, tornado, 1942

Both of Crowell's statues were damaged in the 1942 tornado that devastated the town, wrecking the Foard County courthouse, injuring 125 people, and claiming 11 lives as well. Ninety percent of Crowell's buildings and homes were destroyed, and during World War II materials to rebuild were hard to come by.

But rebuild they did in Foard County, and today that can-do spirit is also exemplified in the newly restored monuments.
Crowell, TX, World War I monuments, restored
World War I monuments, restored (from Fire Hall Museum Facebook page) 
Crowell's damaged World War I monuments
Crowell's damaged World War I monuments (from Fire Hall Museum Facebook page) 






A few miles north of Crowell, in neighboring Hardeman County, you'll find the entrance to Copper Breaks State Park, so named for veins the precious metal visible in the rugged cliffsides or "breaks." The park is a great place to fish, hike, and camp, and its interpretive center tells the story of native peoples of the region as well as its later history. Copper Breaks is home to a portion of the Texas state longhorn herd-and visitors young and old love to learn about the iconic cattle from superintendent David Turner and ranger Carl Hopper. The park is also known for its amazing star-gazing opportunities; it holds a Gold designation (one of only about a dozen nationwide) from the International Dark-Sky Association. Star Walks are scheduled on dark nights.

Superintendent David Turner shows visitors how to "kiss a longhorn" -- with a chunk of cattle feed! 

Hiking at Copper Breaks State Park is a great activity for all ages!
Hiking at Copper Breaks State Park is a great activity for all ages!

Copper Breaks State Park
Copper Breaks' interpretive center offers hands-on learning experiences for kids.

Telescope at Three Rivers Science Foundation 
Telescope at Three Rivers Science Foundation
Close by, the Three Rivers Foundation Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus also schedules Star Parties, on 10 new-moon nights per year, that are open to the public. Tent camping is available on-site.

While you're in Foard County, pack a picnic lunch to enjoy under the shade of trees at one of the few remaining historic WPA-built Texas roadside parks, along Texas Highway 6. 


PLAN AHEAD
 
Star Walk dates (and other events) for Copper Breaks State Park may be found here.
Star Party dates for the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus may be found here.
Watch this page for the announcement of Crowell's Wild Hog Cook-off date for fall 2015. 
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A WINNING HAND FOR YOUR TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL ADVENTURE

  Foard County Playing Card
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. $5.95 per deck (plus tax & shipping), 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!

AVAILABLE APRIL 2015
Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or info@TexasPlainsTrail.com for bulk sales and shipping.




'52 DeSOTO PHOTO FUN
Flat 52 Car Cutout As you travel the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region, take our Plains Trail kids and dog along with you -- in our #C52NTX 1952 DeSoto Ragtop (pdf). Download and print the graphic on heavy paper on your own color printer. Cut along the dashed line. Then glue a stir stick or popsicle stick to the back -- and feature it in your photos of destinations all around the region. Along the way, share your pix to www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME
Saturday, May 10, concludes the 2015 National Travel and Tourism Week, an event that acknowledges the importance of tourism across the US with local celebrations and events. Come join us at the Texas Travel Information Center on I-40 East in Amarillo on Fri., May 9, for Texas Travel Rally Day, to learn about great destinations throughout the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region! 

FOLLOW US ON THE TRAIL . . . AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Foard County License Tag
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 www.DriveTexas.org. And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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WHERE IN THE REGION? COMING UP MAY 13
Texas Time Travel posters
It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to share.

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.

Next week's county was named for a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and is the birthplace of musicians Larry Gatlin and Tanya Tucker. Name the county and its seat to win a prize!
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PARTNER AND DESTINATION REMINDER
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 TexasTimeTravel.com 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.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

On May 2, 2015, we had a great time kicking off National Travel & Tourism Week, in our region with a Hunt for History on Route 66 in Amarillo, focusing on the value of tourism to our nation, state, and region. Thanks to these partners in our event:
* Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council
* Panhandle Tourism Marketing Council, for prize donation
* Historic 6th on 66 Association, for participation and prizes
* Dora Meroney of Texas Ivy Antiques, for organization and prize donation
* Chip Hunt of Amarillo's Route 66 Store for serving as headquarters
* Event volunteers Kristine Olsen, Betty Brannon, and Kay Ellington
* All our merchant and business participants on Route 66
* Visitors and families who turned out to participate!

DID YOU MISS AN ISSUE?
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.