a new attraction the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District and
it’s the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. The museum and hall honors Texas
men and women that have made rodeo what it is today. Located in the old mule
barn, that was once used for the Fort Worth Stockyards Expo and Fat Stock
Show in the early 1900’s, the barn now house a wonderful collection
of Texas memories and history. It burned down in 1911, but was rebuilt and
could stable up to 3000 horses and mules. It was later used during the outbreak
of WWI when European armies were in need of horses and mules. So they sent
agents to the Fort Worth Stockyards to buy stock. It’s estimated 11
million dollars was spent during that time and Fort Worth Stockyards was designated
the largest horse and mule market in the world. Now the barn houses the Texas
Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame, the Sterquell Wagon Collection and the John
Justin Trail of Fame.
Founded in 1997 by Bobby and Susan Kerr of Hico, Texas, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame was relocated to the Fort Worth Stockyards in 2001 by Holt and Jo Hickman. With over 100,000 visitors so far, folks have enjoyed the displays of over 40 cowboys and cowgirls, and the number is steadily growing. Inductees include: Tuff Hedeman, Charmayne James, Ty Murray, Don Gay, Helen K. Groves, Guy Allen, Lane Frost, Martha Josey, Larry Mahan, Gilbert Carrillo and Kay Floyd, just to name a few. These cowboy and cowgirls and their families have donated a large array of memorabilia from saddles, chaps, trophies and spurs to photos and videos that play in each booth. The vintage black and white photographs tell the tales of the days when rough stock, rodeoing and breeding great horses ruled the way of life.
The Sterquell Collection hosts the “world’s largest lifestyle wagon collection”. There are more that 60 antique carriages, sleighs and wagons. Included are a hearse, milk wagon, grain wagon, hay cart, Sicilian cart, logging wagon and several “uptown” carriages as well as a beautiful reproduction of a stagecoach by Latham Coach Works of Fortuna, Missouri. There is even a photographer’s wagon that has the entire original printing equipment inside and a Standard Oil wagon.
Also housed in the old mule barn is the John Justin Trail of Fame. Yes, the boot man. I had no idea that John Justin had contributed so much of his time and money into the Livestock Show and Rodeo. He also was on the Fort Worth City Counsel and went on to be Mayor. He contributed to the Texas Christian University and the Justin Sports Medicine Program. And it was his grandfather, Herman, who actually founded the boot company in 1979, 38 years before John’s birth. The Justin collection includes some gorgeous boots, footwear and memorabilia from John Justin’s life.
There’s also the Jersey Lilly Old Time Photo Parlor where you can get one of those old fashioned, dress me up like a saloon girl or cowboy photos made, and an adjacent gift shop. They have meeting facilities and group rates, but for $4 and under, I’d consider that a bargain for at least three hours of looking. The Stockyards have an interesting ambiance as you drive over the red brick roads. Millions of cattle and thousands of cowboys have passed through this historic district. The historic buildings and rich history is well worth the trip. Plan on staying a day or two or three. It’ll take you that long to take it all in.