Weatherford Democrat

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April 24, 2013

Like history? Take a driving tour of it through Palo Pinto County this weekend

(Continued)

Strawn Historical Museum

Our next stop will be the Strawn Historical Museum. The small, one-room tile structure housing the museum was built 60 years ago to provide housing for the local Boy Scouts troop and was originally called “The Boy Scout Hut.” Since the land had been granted to the Boy Scouts by the city, it was stipulated that in the event that scouts ever stop using the facility, ownership of the building would revert to the city.

Palo Pinto Mountains State Park

We will head west again, venturing about two miles beyond Strawn’s city limits to an area designated as the newest state park in Texas.

Containing creek beds, valleys, hillsides, mesas and deep ravines, the park also boasts a variety of mammals and numerous birds. While Palo Pinto Creek flows along the northern edge of the property, the main water feature is Tucker Lake, a beautiful reservoir built in 1937 and containing an abundant population of largemouth bass, catfish and crappie.

Stuart Estate

Back to Strawn to the Stuart home. James Nesbert Stuart and his wife, Sallie Saphira Allen Stuart, came to Texas from Missouri in 1859 in an ox-drawn wagon. Along with other Missourians including the Allen and Martin families, the couple was accompanied on their journey west by Sallie’s sister Emmaline Jane Allen and a young man named Stephen Bethel Strawn.

Bethel Strawn and Jane Allen were married and settled with the Stuarts in the North Fork area that would later bear Strawn’s name.

The Stuart and Strawn families ran cattle together for several years and both James and Bethel were instrumental in bringing the railroad through the area.

Belding Ranch

We will be heading north on State Highway 16 next, our destination the historic Belding Ranch.  Numerous generations of Beldings have occupied the family ranch house that has grown like topsy over the years since Henry Belding first settled in this area. Though family members of each generation have added on, the little one-room cabin Henry and his wife first moved into back in 1859 still remains at the home’s core.

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