Heritage, Spring 2003 Page: 24
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One of the most ambitious plans to commemorate
the Chisholm Trail is being carried out in Johnson
County, where the residents want to make the
famous route come alive for travelers seeking to
learn more about Texas' western legacy. The
Johnson County Historical Commission, assisted by
the Commissioners of Johnson County, the City
Council of Cleburne, and the Chamber of
Commerce of Cleburne have all endorsed the several-layered
Already underway, the first part of the project celebrates
the trail journey. But unlike the drovers who
came this way in the1800s and traveled with few
directions, today's visitors will be guided by concrete
posts emblazoned with the words "Chisholm
Trail." These pillars already mark some 30 miles of
Johnson County's scenic roads and guide vehicle
traffic along the Chisholm Trail. The hope is that the
posts will eventually mark the entire Chisholm Trail
from Oklahoma to Mexico.
Besides the guide posts, the county hopes to also
/)cGt1f^>c^ ^c^1^-/1 create a Chisholm Trail Museum and restore the old
town of Wardville, Johnson County's first seat of
government in 1854. That community served as a
primary campsite on the Chisholm Trail.
According to Billy Cates, one of Johnson County's
Chisholm Trail project organizers, the museum site,
located at the edge of Cleburne, will include a decorative
memorial 80 feet long and 12 feet tall. One
of the first sights that visitors will see, the imposing
structure will feature alternating metal silhouettes
of horses and trail-riding cowboys atop a rock
pedestal base. Lettering in the rock work will read,
"Welcome to Cleburne-on the Chisholm Trail."
From that memorial (see above, photo by Billy Cates),
visitors will eventually be able to stroll a river walk
path skirting the Nolan River to an amphitheater
where plays and readings commemorating the
famous trail route will take place. Cates said that
the metal and stone memorial will be completed by
late spring 2003 and that other aspects of the project
will be undertaken as fundraising progresses.
This simple and elegant marker honoring
Indian interpreter, trader, and forger of the
trail-driving frontier Jesse Chisholm, sits at the entrance to the
Frontier Times Museum in Bandera. Though not officially on the
famed Chisholm Trail, Bandera is justifiably proud of its cattle
legacy. The Frontier Times Museum was started by J. Marvin
Hunter, who published Frontier Times in the 1930s and '40s,
using this building as the base of his operations. Hunter is
known for compiling first-person accounts of the trail drivers of
HERITAGE gSPRING 2003
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Spring 2003, periodical, Spring 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45378/m1/24/?q=contract%20drovers%20cattle&rotate=270: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.