Outside the Loop: Crosbyton

Outside the Loop

Today, we go outside the loop and venture east of Lubbock. We introduce you to Jacque James, director of the Crosbyton Chamber of Commerce, as she tells us about Crosbyton!

Crosbyton is a friendly community located thirty-six miles east of Lubbock at the edge of the caprock on Texas Highway 82.  It was recognized in 2007 by First Lady Laura Bush as a Preserve America Community and received the Texas Department of Agriculture Hardworking Rural Community Award in 2009 and 2010. In fact, Crosbyton is a community with 19th century charm and 21st century amenities.

Photo Credit: Gary Mitchell, Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum

Blanco Canyon, which snakes through the county near Crosbyton east on Texas Highway 82 and north on F.M. Highway 651, is a historical site whose story reaches back to prehistory.  The canyon provided man water, shelter, game, and vegetation throughout time.   To the ancient inhabitants, it was seen as a Garden of Eden, where wanderers could rest.  In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was a favorite hunting site of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker.  Blanco Canyon was also the site of the important running battle between the Comanche and the U.S. 4th Cavalry under Col. MacKenzie.  From the battle MacKenzie learned valuable lessons that led to the final defeat of the proud Comanche.   A visitor to Crosby County has access to part of the canyon at Silver Falls Park, four miles east of Crosbyton on Highway 82.  The park contains newly constructed rest facilities, WiFi access, information about canyon history and a WPA built stone staircase leading down into the creek bed.

The gem of the Crosbyton downtown is the Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum.  The museum is built in wings around a replica of the Hank Smith house, the first permanent home on the Llano located in Blanco Canyon.  Today, the museum also houses a new Native American wing that is home to the “Wayne J. Parker Center for the Study of Native American Cultures.”  It exhibits the collection of local historians and archeologist, Choice Smith and Wayne Parker.  The event center  includes the Llano Estacado mural painted by Crosbyton artist Joe Taylor  There are exhibits on the 4th Cavalry and the Texas Rangers, and  exhibits of ranching, agriculture, transportation, and business.  The east wing celebrates the domestic arts and contains a replica of a half dugout.   The museum also has an extensive archival collection that includes microfilm of the Crosby County News, a newspaper printed from 1909 until the present; a large 20th century photograph collection, and a Texana library.

Across the street from the Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum is one of the most unusual and quirky museums in Texas.  The Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum is the life work of Joe Taylor.  It is a museum of prehistoric fossils found in a life full of digs. It contains his casting workshop, and an art studio.  Joe worked in L.A. in the 1960’s and 1970’s, painting large signs of album covers for advertising display.  He has saved many of them and they form a visual narrative of the times.  Today, Joe casts replicas of fossils and of complete dinosaurs for museum collections.  His most recent casting of a stegosaurus and a baby stegosaurus is bound for a new home in Oklahoma.

Photo Credit: Jacque James

Crosbyton has a variety of choices if you get hungry.   Sample the brisket at 82 B-B-Q.  Indulge in Mexican food at Teresa’s Cocina.  Chow down on a great burger and homemade potato chips at Charley’s, or let Linda Silva serve up some D.Q. soft serve like she has for years.  White River Lake is twenty-five miles south of Crosbyton on FM 651.  WR Marina at the lake offers a fish fry with live entertainment on Friday nights in the summer.   Crosbyton has a wonderful city park with a swimming pool, walking track, R.V. hook-ups, and a play area.  The park is the location of a 40 foot arrow commemorating the presence of the Comanche in the area.  The arrow is the work of South Plains artist, Charles Smith for the Texas Heritage Trails as a stop on the new Quanah Parker Trail.

Come for the history and stay to “Chime In and Celebrate Christmas in Crosbyton.”  The yearly event takes place downtown around the Crosby County Courthouse. This year the parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7 and head east on Aspen Street to the Courthouse.  Events take place around the square in the beautiful public buildings.  After a parade of lights, the crowd divides into different venues.  Santa holds court in the gazebo on the square.  The children’s Christmas card contest entries are on display in the Library where awards will be given to winners.  A chili supper is available in the Prairie Ladies Multicultural Center;  and hot chocolate can be purchased from the Girl Scouts in the Gowen’s family building.   Finally, the museum hosts a “Candlelight Caroling in the Museum”, where visitors can stroll through the museum and be entertained by Bluegrass students from South Plains College and local musicians. Meet friendly folks, take in the views and enjoy the fun in Crosbyton.

For more information visit http://www.cityofcrosbyton.org/site/.

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