Gaines County Museum
At the Gaines County Museum in Seminole, history can be found outdoors as well as in
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 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!  
Gaines County Museum yearsbooks
At the Gaines County Museum, decades of local school yearbooks provide a useful archive for local researchers, or a fun glimpse for former residents.
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Gaines County, Texas
Gaines County, Texas 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
SEMINOLE AND GAINES COUNTY were late bloomers in West Texas-the 1880 US Census for the county reported United States census reported only eight residents, and cattle raising remained the only viable industry into the twentieth century-but petroleum discovery and irrigated agriculture changed the picture significantly, and in many recent years Gaines has ranked tops in Texas in production of oil, cotton, peanuts, and sorghum. Before Anglo settlement, however, the region was Comanche territory, with rich grasslands and playa lakes to attract buffalo herds.  Cedar Lake, located in what is today the northeastern corner of the county and the largest salt lake on the Texas plains, may have been the birthplace of Quanah Parker. It was certainly a favorite camping place for the Comanches and a trading site with the Comancheros. The abundance of bison brought buffalo hunters, too, and by 1882 hunters had killed the last large herd on the Plains there. Life changed irreversibly as lands came under control of influential ranchers like C. C. Slaughter, and towns like Seminole (1905), Loop (1912), and Seagraves (1918), sprang up. Today Seminole is the bustling retail, service, and residential center of this region of the South Plains. (Information from

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  22 listings in Gaines County.  Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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Founded  1876  County seat  Seminole
Population  17,586

Communities   Denver City    Loop    Seagraves     Seminole 

Mascots  Denver City Mustangs, Loop Longhorns, Seagraves Eagles, Seminole Indians


Gaines County Museum Welcome 
A mural at the Gaines County Museum celebrates the region's five predominant cultures: Comanche; ranching and farming early Pioneers (Anglo); Hispanic; Black Americans from whom the city derived its name; and the German-speaking community (Mennonites).
located near the heart of the city and conveniently sharing quarters with its public library. You'll discover everything from arrowheads to automobiles, covering centuries of Gaines County's geological, archeological, cultural, social, military, agricultural, and industrial background.
Wind Spirit sculpture
Both the "Wind Spirit" sculpture and museum director Roy Lynn Barnes greet visitors at the entrance to the Gaines County Museum.
You might stop in at the Chamber of Commerce office on the courthouse square for tourism and shopping information. The square, nicely spruced up in coordinating paint schemes, offers antiques, boutiques, and restaurants, and plenty of convenient, free parking.
    Up the road in Seagraves, site of the county's first railroad connection in 1917, you'll find another gem of a museum, the Seagraves-Loop Museum and Art Center. (The town of Loop, in case you were wondering, got its name from the cattle brand used by the ranch whose headquarters served as a post office early in the community's history.)
     If you've worked up an appetite by now, you're in the right place -- for a quick lunch at the Dixie Dog or a more robust meal at the Simpson Inn & Ale House, a landmark since 1917. Stay overnight in one of their six themed rooms and suites.
     Check out local news in the Seminole Sentinel and the Denver City Press.

Downtown Seminole, TX

The following events are listed on the Seminole Chamber of Commerce page:

July    Gaines County Annual 4th of July Fireworks Display
July    Gaines County Memorial Golf Tournament
August    Texas Youth Bullrider's Rodeo
September  SHS Homecoming
September 15-17    Gaines County Ag & Oil Day Celebration & Go Nuts in Gaines County/Produce Fair
November   Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet
December 11   Annual Lighted Christmas Parade 
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  Gaines County 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!

Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or for bulk sales and shipping.

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
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TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME

Bookdockers What did American leisure travel look like in 1952? "When Paige Bridges and her husband David purchased a 22-foot Nomad travel trailer in 1998, little did she know it would foster something big that was based on something small. Upon graduating from Marshall University with a fine arts degree, the Bridges' found themselves in Van Zandt County, Texas where they began to raise a family and where Paige ultimately began giving private art lessons. One of which is entitled 'Boondocking,' a piece featuring a 1956 Westerner that she found in a cow pasture in Marshall, Texas. Through the magic of her brush and canvas, she was able to 'restore' the Westerner and park it next to a 1952 Chevy pickup."

Gaines 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 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 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.

The seat of next week's county was founded as a planned community by a king of American cereal. Name both the county and the city to win a prize!
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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.

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.

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.