Brazos River Bridge_ Knox County_ Texas

BRIDGE OVER THE BRAZOS: This pony-truss iron bridge spans the Brazos River south of Benjamin, Texas, on Texas Hwy. 6. When the bridge (the second on this site) was decommissioned in 2015, it was converted to a walking path, complete with pull-off parking spots and handicapped access, and a Texas Historical Commission marker was erected. Visible from the bridge are also the foundations of an older railroad bridge.
Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour
THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas -- places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.

We invite you to join us throughout the year for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each issue, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at TexasPlainsTrail.com to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our THC regional travel guide here (pdf).
And we'll see you along the trail!  
Wichita Brazos Museum and Cultural Center
Preparing for a photographic exhibition at the Wichita Brazos Cultural Center is a team effort.
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Knox County_ Texas
Marcy expedition_ 1854

Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf)
 
PART FERTILE FARM AND RANCH ACREAGE
and part alkaline badlands, Knox County's 854 square miles on the rolling plains of West Texas attracted a wide variety of hunters, explorers, settlers, and industrialists over the years.

Capt. Randolph B. Marcy surveyed the region in 1854, searching for a suitable site for an Indian reservation. He would have observed the waterways of the South and North Wichita Rivers, the Brazos River, and Croton Creek.
 


Knox County Courthouse_ Benjamin
Knox County Courthouse, Benjamin
Settlers began arriving in greater numbers in the 1880s. Among then was cattleman Robert D. Goree, who opened up lands for agriculture and established a community named after him. The town of Benjamin, named after the son of town founder Hilary D. Bedford who was killed by lighting while working cattle, was named the county seat in 1886.

Kacy Latham mural_ Munday
Kacy Latham mural, Munday (photo from Facebook) 
(If you want to know more about the Bedfords and their stories, ask Wichita Brazos Museum curator Mary Jane Young, a descendant and a font of local history knowledge.)

Although the railroads came to Knox County in the early 1900s and oil was discovered in the 1940s, all of its towns remained small. Today these communities are close-knit and friendly, but with strong determination to keep their heritage and commerce alive.

Take a peek at the old jail in Benjamin restored as a hose and studio by State Photographer of Texas (and Benjamin native) Wyman Meinzer, or Knox City's imaginative sculptures made from tractor parts, or the "Paint the Town" project by Munday native Kacy Latham to get an idea of the degree of creativity in this corner of the Texas Plains Trail Region.   
 
 
The old Knox City Jail building in Benjamin, a.k.a. home of photographer Wyman Meziner 
 

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historical Sites Atlas  guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including 29 listings in Knox County. Click and explore for history on your desktop!
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Munday Purple Cloud Band KNOX COUNTY QUICK FACTS
Organized  1886
County seat  Benjamin
Population   3,719 (as of 2015)
Communities    Benjamin, Goree, Knox City, Munday, Truscott, Vera
Mascots   Benjamin Mustangs, Knox City Greyhounds/Houndettes, Munday Moguls/Mogulettes    

The city of Goree in Knox County is the site of the annual Bobby Boatright Memorial Music Camp, an event for aspiring Western Swing musicians of all ages to showcase their musical talents.

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO
START YOUR TRIP THROUGH KNOX COUNTY in the southeastern corner, at the agricultural communities of Goree and Munday. Check out Munday's murals and charming downtown square before you head out to fish and camp at Miller's Creek Reservoir (both activities are free).

St. Joseph_s Catholic Church_ Rhineland

CATHEDRAL IN A COTTON FIELD:
St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Rhineland

Just west of Munday, turn north to find the hamlet of Rhineland. St. Joseph's Catholic Church, "the Cathedral in the Cotton Field," is the focal point of Rhineland, founded in 1895 by a priest who wished to make land purchases available for German immigrants or German-descent settlers looking to farm. Life revolved around the church, and a magnificent house of worship was begin in 1927. Eventually completed in 1951, St. Joseph's Church features windows that depict central events in the life of Christ. The parish is renowned for its Sausage Dinner, held each fall.

Art from recycled tractor parts_ Knox City
Art from recycled tractor parts, Knox City
Knox City tractor art Head back to Texas Highway 222 and stop in for lunch or dinner at Knox City. Take your pick of Isabella's Tex-Mex Cafe
, Bud's Cafe, or The Pizza Place. Drive around and check out the tractor-part sculptures and numerous murals, including a brightly colored representation of area cattle brands.

Knox County_ Texas

OUR BRAND OF TEXAS: Visitors can decipher Knox County's storied cattle brands

Cross the Brazos River on Texas Highway 6, taking time to park and stroll across the old iron bridge. At times this watercourse runs low, exposing muddy banks of red soil; at other times, after fresh rains, it stretches from wide bank to bank, and it's easy to appreciate that this is America's 11th longest river. Rio de los Brazos de Dios, as the Spanish explorers called it, winds up at the Gulf of Mexico. 

The vistas along the dramatic ridge of The Narrows, between the Brazos and Wichita Rivers, conjure up long-ago days when bison roamed this landscape in vast herds.

In June of 1841 an exploratory expedition from Austin, Texas, traveled up through the rolling plains and Texas Panhandle toward their final destination in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After turning westward from the Trinity River in the Cross Timbers region the group traveled several days before reaching the Narrows. On August 14, 1841 the expedition established a campsite near the present site of Benjamin and noted that they were traveling along an old Indian trail running in a westward direction. Later, the Narrows became a popular recreational spot.

Penman_s in Benjamin.

Penman_s in Benjamin.Texas
Gifts, refreshment, and fuel are all available at Penman's in Benjamin. 
Santa Fe on the Brazos
Santa Fe on the Brazos


Today, visitors can stop in at Santa Fe on the Brazos to shop for pottery, gifts, and boutique clothing and accessories. An excellent quilt store is located next door. Also in Benjamin, Penman's Ranchland store offers standard convenience-store fare -- plus hot foods and local art and books.

Wichita Brazos Museunm and Cultural Center_ Benjamin

ARROWS INTO HISTORY: The Quanah Parker Trail giant arrow marker at the Wichita Brazos Museum and Cultural Center, Benjamin celebrates the region's Native American heritage. 

The county's history is preserved at the Wichita Brazos Museum and Cultural Center, right on U.S. Highway 82. Stop in weekday afternoons, or for special programs, before leaving  Benjamin. 

A scenic loop drive will take you out to Gilliland and up to the site of the Truscott Brine Lake, coming back down Texas Highway 6 toward Benjamin. Along Highway 6 is a special treat for the end of your day: turn in at the Jim Bob Art Park and Nature Trails, where a short stroll takes you to the edge of the badlands for an unforgettable sunset view. Though privately owned, the site is free and inviting to the public.

Jim Bob Art Park, Benjamin

Jim Bob Art Park
 

Badlands, Knox County
  


Wichita Brazos Museum WWI event 2018
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND IN KNOX COUNTY
 
Sunday, October 14, 2018:  Following the annual Sausage Dinner at St. Joseph's Church in the historic German community of Rhineland, the Wichita Brazos Museum and Cultural Center will host a program celebrating the centennial of the end of World War I with special presenter Larry Welch. Come and learn about your history, and the defenders of your freedom.
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A WINNING HAND FOR YOUR TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL ADVENTURE

Texas Fifty-Two-Step deck of playing cards  
  Knox County
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip.   Order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $10 per deck (including tax & shipping), in shrink-wrapped custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

NOW AVAILABLE
Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or info@TexasPlainsTrail.com for bulk sales and shipping.




'52 DeSOTO PHOTO FUN
Flat 52 Car Cutout As you travel the 52 counties of the Texas Plains Trail Region, take our Plains Trail kids and dog along with you -- in our #C52NTX 1952 DeSoto Ragtop (pdf). Download and print the graphic on heavy paper on your own color printer. Cut along the dashed line. Then glue a stir stick or popsicle stick to the back -- and feature it in your photos of destinations all around the region. Along the way, share your pix to www.Facebook.com/TexasPlainsTrail
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TX Highway 52 52 Tuesdays "52" TRIVIA TIME
Filmed over 52 consecutive Tuesdays with the non-professional cast being given their scripts one week at a time, the motion picture 52 Tuesdays won the World Dramatic Directing Award (World Cinema - Dramatic) at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. 

FOLLOW US ON THE TRAIL . . . AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit www.DriveTexas.org. And please with your Texas traveling friends!
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WHERE IN THE REGION? COMING UP NEXT WEEK
TPTR keychain
It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to share.

To win a nifty Texas Plains Trail Region keychain, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.

Congratulations to all our weekly winners so far.

Our next county is home to a favorite Texas "outlaw" country & western legend - and you can peruse lots of amazing memorabilia at his brother's liquor store in the county seat.
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PARTNER AND DESTINATION REMINDER
Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.   Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Did you know you can add your own events to the TexasTimeTravel.com website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

DID YOU MISS AN ISSUE?
Every week's issue is archived on our website.   Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

Copyright © 2015-18 Texas Plains Trail Region. All Rights Reserved.