The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 67
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Retracing the Chisholm Trail
adjusted themselves to a new economy of fenced ranches and
shipments by rail. But they knew that the Chisholm Trail had
served them well. It had given them a market when they were
overstocked with cattle and short of cash. It had spurred the
settlement and stocking of the northern ranges. It had brought
down the price of beef for the housewife and helped beef to
displace pork as the chief meat item on the dinner table. It had
hastened the building of Western railroads, had increased ex-
ports of beef, and had given impetus to the industries of meat
packing and refrigeration.
Too, the trail had brought together people from different sec-
tions of the country and thus helped to lessen the animosity left
by the Civil War. It had shown Texas cowmen the need for im-
proved breeds and had given them the means to bring in blooded
stock, as well as to improve their ranches. And, like the Crusades
of the Europeans in earlier centuries, the trail drivers had
given thousands of young men an opportunity for adventure
and had provided subjects for epic literature and art.
Today few physical traces are left of the Chisholm Trail. Even
most of the river crossings are hard to pinpoint exactly; and at
Red River Station a change in the channel has altered the ap-
pearance of the stream from trail-driving days. In Oklahoma,
where the trail followed a more definite route than in Texas or
Kansas, the State Highway Department has traced and mapped
the route and that of the Western Trail with commendable de-
tail. This task was completed in 1936, carrying out the instruc-
tions of a legislative act of 1931.
Texas and Kansas have a number of markers, but they leave
much to be desired. One difficulty in marking the trail is that
no highway in Texas or Kansas follows much of it closely as
does Highway Number 81 in Oklahoma. This is especially true
of the river crossings. An ideal trail crossing was one that offered
low, gradual slopes on each side, making it easy for the cattle
to enter and leave the stream. But an ideal site for a highway
bridge is just the opposite-it is a place where the river is nar-
row, with high banks on each side. Thus a marker at the exact
site of a trail crossing is likely to be in a cotton patch or a cow
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/80/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.