Saturday, July 1, 2017

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

On a recent trip to West Texas I stopped off to tour the Buffalo Gap Historic Village. Buffalo Gap, as the name suggests, is an opening in a line of rocky hills through which herds of buffalo moved. A small community grew up near the gap, and when Taylor County was organized in 1878 Buffalo Gap became the county seat. A two-story stone courthouse and jail was built in 1879. Two years later, when the first railroad came through the county to the north, Buffalo Gap was bypassed. The new town of Abilene, on the railroad, wrested the seat of county government from Buffalo Gap in an 1883 election. But the 1879 courthouse remained an impressive building, and beginning in 1956 other frontier structures were brought onto the site.

1879 courthouse

Today the Buffalo Gap Historic Village features the courthouse and jail, along with 15 other buildings. There is a pioneer residence, a log cabin, a blacksmith shop, a two-room school, a dentist office, a railroad depot, a barber shop, a store, a rustic chapel, and a livery barn with an excellent collection of horse-drawn vehicles. There are firearms and all manner of other artifacts displayed in these historic buildings, as well as a Western art collection. The tour starts at a fine visitor center and gift shop.
Inside the courthouse

Inside the school

Years ago, every time I drove through Buffalo Gap I stopped for a tour. I stopped dropping in about two decades ago, but I realized that by now there probably were additional buildings at Buffalo Gap Historic Village, as well as new displays. Both expectations proved true, and I enjoyed a fine visit.


 My last previous stop at Buffalo Gap was a couple of years ago, when I spent the night with Bill and Gayla Neal in south Abilene, only a few miles from Buffalo Gap's famous Perini Ranch Steakhouse. Bill and Gayla treated me to a superb dinner at Perini's, and I began to think that soon I needed to once more tour the Buffalo Gap Historic Village. Bill and Gayla, knowing that I was coming in their direction this spring, very kindly invited me to stay with them again. I was eager for another visit with them, but when I realized that I was running ahead of schedule, I stopped at Buffalo Gap. Any history buff interested in the Texas frontier will enjoy a tour of Buffalo Gap Historic Village. 
Inside the Visitor Center


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