Soak Up Chisholm Trail History In Cleburne

The North Texas town boasts museums devoted to Native American history, and to railroading.

By Marika FlattMarch 7, 2019 9:42 am,

Just 30 minutes from Fort Worth, via the Chisholm Trail Parkway, Cleburne is a spring break day trip, or overnight getaway with plenty of small town charm, history, family-friendly entertainment and authentic Texas cooking.

Once a stop on the famous Chisholm Trail, and home to one of the world’s largest railroad maintenance shops, Cleburne has a history that lives on its many museums. These include the free Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum. It features life-sized cattle drive silhouettes, Johnson County’s original courthouse, a working blacksmith shop, a stagecoach station, teepees and more.

The Big Bear Native American Museum features a collection of Native American artifacts that provide a complete overview of Native American history in North America from their arrival over 13,000 years ago, to the present.

Cleburne’s free Railroad Museum displays artifacts from 75 years history as a railroad town. And for something a little different, there’s the Gone With The Wind Remembered Museum, one of the most comprehensive and extensive Gone With The Wind collections in the world, including one-of-a-kind and extremely rare pieces, including costume items from the film.

Cleburne is also home to one of North Texas’ most acclaimed professional theatre troupes. The Plaza Theatre Co. performs in a “theater in the round” all year long with classical musicals featuring dazzling costumes and lavish sets. Every spectator is close to the action, and there’s no bad seat in the house. Upcoming offerings include “Newsies: The Musical” and “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Cleburne has numerous family-owned, affordable restaurants and cafes, many of which have been in operation for decades. These eateries serve up everything from classic all-American fare to authentic Texas specialties, and international dishes ranging from Mexican to Thai. Burger Bar specializes in juicy burgers cooked on a 100-year old grill in Cleburne’s second oldest building – one that happens to measure only 12 ft x 12 ft. Patrons vie for one of four bar stools in this tiny restaurant that’s big on flavor. If hot dogs are your preference, head to Loaf’n Dog for an astounding variety of twists on the classic or the opportunity to build your own. Visitors and locals frequent Susannah’s for chicken and dumplings and other home-cooked fare. And brisket tacos are de rigueur at La Cima.

You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle magazine.