National Ranching Heritage Center
Today we are travelling back to the year 1966 in Lubbock. There was a lot of empty space and a lot of ideas for the city to grow. The idea for the National Ranching Heritage Center was started in 1966 by Texas Tech administrators. The goal was to have land to preserve the history of ranching. It was only two years later that 12 acres of land were designated for the project and building acquisitions began. The first structure to the 12 acre land was the Renderbrook-Spade Blacksmith shop in 1970. By 1976, 18 buildings and four windmills had been restored and dedicated. The official opening of the NHRC was July 2nd, 1976.
Now, thirty-six years later, the NRHC has preserved 48 structures with new indoor exhibits and a library. The outside exhibits include 48 structures built between the late 1700s and early 1900s. Visitors will see “historic windmills, dugouts, barns, corrals and pens, a bunkhouse, one-room school house, blacksmith shop, ranch headquarters buildings, a locomotive, stock cars, depot and examples of such unique early architecture as a cabin made of cactus stalks and mud chinking and an elegant two-story ranch home ordered from a mail-order catalog. Each building has been authentically restored, furnished or outfitted to reflect period correctness.” After you explore the historical structures make sure to check out the newly renovated indoor exhibits containing art galleries, artifacts, and the “Across Time and Territory” wall murals.
After living in Lubbock for over 20 years I can attest to visiting the NRHC numerous times. Sometimes on field trips, but mostly for special events. I recently visited the NRHC and am proud to say they have only gotten better over the years. The new interior renovations turned an aging building into a modern and interesting museum. The whole west side of the building now consists of art galleries and a wall mural that depicts the story of the NRHC and the American West. There is even a gun wall with various guns from over the years. The 48 outside structures speak for themselves. I love the feeling I get when looking into an old ranch house and wondering what went on those many years ago. It was such a simple time without cell phones and electricity. Every structure has a story to tell and allows your imagination to run wild.
My favorite NRHC activity is the events! Kids and adults can enjoy youth classes, Halloween fall festivals, Christmas Candlelight at the Ranch, and miscellaneous dinners and exhibitions throughout the year. With the holidays quickly approaching, the NRHC is a great place to take your visitors and a good place for the kids to run around. Make sure to visit the NRHC here!