By Kate Nowak
Special to the Index
PART 1 of 2
While most may think of April as a time for celebrating fools and spring showers, some of the local folk in Palo Pinto County are more apt to think of it as the perfect time for celebrating history. They have good reason. Ever since 1837, when Bigfoot Wallace first planted his reportedly big feet on a portion of the 948 broken and hilly square miles that make up the county, the area has been steeped in a rich and varied history worthy of celebration. That’s why every other year the Palo Pinto County Historical Commission hosts a driving tour, opening wide the gates to yesteryear and giving history buffs an opportunity to venture through the beautiful Palo Pinto Mountain range and straight into the past.
Offering fascinating legend and lore along with postcard-worthy landscapes, this year’s biennial tour, aptly dubbed the Palo Pinto County Historic and Wildflower Tour, will take place April 27, the last Saturday in April, beginning at 9 am and lasting until 4 pm.
As with past tours offered by the commission, you will be free to start the tour at any point along the way; but to give you an idea of what to expect, let’s take a quick peek at all the places along the designated route:
Our first stop is the Palo Pinto County Old Jail Museum in Palo Pinto. Constructed of native sandstone in 1882, the jail housed the area’s scalawags on its top floor for just shy of 60 years. In 1940, when the current courthouse was built, a new jail was constructed on its third floor, and the historical old jail building bid farewell to its last prisoner. In years since, the Palo Pinto County Historical Association has successfully operated the old jail as a museum, offering visitors a glimpse of many of the interesting artifacts and memorabilia currently housed within its walls. Tour day, the Old Jail Museum features “The Way Things Were.”