You can experience being a full-fledged cowboy in Fort Worth
There were few fences in Texas in the early 1800s and people were rare. Breeders could let their animals roam free until the moment of sale. So when a few wayward Spanish Retintos from one ranch encountered wandering English Herefords from another, no one stopped the cows and bulls from having a little fun. The resulting offspring were disease resistant, calved easily, had surprisingly long horns crowning their heads, and were semi-wild. They were the first Texas Longhorns. The history of this unique breed of cattle intertwines with the history of the city of Fort Worth. Today, visitors can still see the Texas Longhorns as herdsmen herd them to the stockyards of Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Stockyards
Some 50 years after Longhorns began roaming the Texas countryside, and shortly after the Civil War ended, Texas’ economy was struggling. Some discerning breeders stumbled upon an opportunity when they learned that their animals could sell for about five or six times as much on the East Coast. Locally, each head was worth around $4, but in New York buyers were offering up to $40. How could these Texan businessmen get their products to consumers?
For about a decade, until the railroad reached Fort Worth, cowboys drove about 4 million cattle north along the Chisholm Trail. It was an arduous journey through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Fort Worth was the last stop where cowboys could have fun before heading to wilder country. Cowboys knew the town as “Hell’s Half Acre”. Outlaws such as Butch Cassidy are said to have roamed the streets here.
Many animals that traveled nearly 800 miles along the Chisholm Trail were longhorns. The breed was hardy enough to survive the trek and stay at a profitable weight.
Then the railroad reached Fort Worth, making it easier for Texas ranchers to ship their cattle to other parts of the country without crossing Oklahoma and Kansas. Investors set up stockyards, packing plants and slaughterhouses in the growing city. Now people have started calling it “Cow Town”. No one is surprised to see herdsmen leading their animals through the streets.
After bringing prosperity to the city for nearly a century, the stockyards closed in the 1970s – they had become obsolete. The citizens of Fort Worth, however, protected their heritage and preserved the stockyards.
See a real cattle drive
Today, Fort Worth Stockyards is a National Historic District. Visitors can try authentic Texas steak, shop for cowboy boots and hats, and watch cowboys drive longhorns through stockyards. If that’s not enough, Fort Worth is brimming with museums, bringing tourists closer to cowboy history, ranching, and stockyards.
Noelle recalled her visit to Fort Worth Stockyards in a Google review: “We had a great time at Fort Worth Stockyards! We were there on a Monday and there weren’t any people there. It was easy to walk along Exchange Avenue and in and out of shops and restaurants.They walk the cattle twice a day…it’s really something to see!Beetles are animals majestic and I was surprised by the size of their horns!”
Cattle Drive at Fort Worth Stockyards
Where: East Interchange Avenue.
When: 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily
More information: Stockyard website
The cuisine offered in the Stockyards area is not shabby. Consider this review written by Barbara R: “97 West and Hotel Drover fit perfectly into the Stockyards. The developers did a great job of restoring Mule Alley. The ribeye and prime rib were cooked to perfection .”
Of course, any trip to Texas is incomplete if people don’t return home with the boots and hats to prove they were there. Look no further – Fort Worth’s stockyards have a lot to offer in this regard.
Western clothing stores:
Finally, some historians point out that films often misrepresent cowboys. Black, Native, Mexican and female cowboys all drove cows through Fort Worth and along the Chisholm Trail – in fact, the trail was founded by two Oklahoma Native American friends and scouts, Black Beaver and Jesse Chisholm. Here are some museums that tourists can visit if they want to learn more about the diversity in this profession:
Then, before travelers know it, the sun sets in the big Texas sky. For a few moments, the clouds turn orange, red, purple and pink before the sky darkens and city lights illuminate the streets of the Stockyards district. Time to rest before another day of sightseeing.
next: There’s a Lost Ghost Town Under Lake Buchanan in Texas