The history of Montague County can be discovered at the Texas Tails N’ Trails Museum in Nocona. For a small town, you’ll be surprised to learn how large and well-kept the museum is. If you’re already in town visiting the Horton Classic Car Museum, the Texas Tails N’ Trails is worth a stop.
The museum originated from the private collection of Nocona native Joe Benton and the generosity of his family. Benton was born in Montague County in 1882 and spent most of his life collecting items relating to the area’s history. His collection became so large, he created a private museum inside his home outside of Nocona. Benton’s heirs donated the land the museum sits on, and items from his collection are on display. The museum sits on a hillside outside of town.
Inside you’ll discover a huge collection of Native American artifacts. Other exhibits cover Nocona’s western heritage, oil boom days, and farming and ranching. There’s also an exhibit about the Nocona Boot Company and its origins from the 1800s.
Native American Artifacts
The Native American Hall is one of the main attractions of the museum. It features an extensive collection of arrowheads and other artifacts. There’s lots of information about different tribes and Indian culture. Especially about the Wichita Indians who were local to this area.
A mural depicting life about the Wichita covers an entire wall. There’s also a reproduction of a grass house, with a video demonstrating the resourcefulness of the Wichita Indians.
Wall-to-wall countertops with pull-out drawers are filled with Indian artifacts. There are hundreds of arrowheads on display from Joe Benton’s collection. The arrowheads, or “points”, come in all shapes and sizes. Some are estimated to be thousands of years old. You will also see authentic pottery and a large collection of smoke pipes in a glass display.
Nocona’s Boot Industry
Nocona Boot Company was a well-known boot manufacturing business that operated in Nocona for over 70 years. Its roots can be traced back to 1879 when H. L. Justin started making boots for cowboys driving cattle down the Chisholm Trail. After he passed away, his sons moved the boot-making business to Fort Worth. His daughter, Enid Justin, remained in Nocona and founded the Nocona Boot Company in 1925.
As the years went by, the Nocona Boot Company expanded with more employees and manufacturing space. At one point, the Nocona Boot Company was making 1,500 pairs of boots per day. Boots were made for celebrities and well-known figures like President George H. W. Bush. The company merged with Justin Boots in 1981. In 1999, the factory was shut down and moved to El Paso.
Nocona was a popular stopping point for cattle drivers passing through on the nearby Chisholm Trail. Saloons, hotels, and many other businesses sprang up during the late 1800s to cater to the needs of the working cowboys. You’ll see old photos, branding irons, and pistols from the cattle driving era of Montague County.
The Oil and Gas Boom
Oil was struck in the early 1900s and became a huge boon to the local economy. An old drilling machine called a “
There’s also a 100-year-old home (that’s a little spooky) called the “Pumper’s House.” The homestead was moved here from the Nocona oil fields. It once belonged to an oil field pumper and his family during the early 1900s. The pumper maintained the gasoline engines running the pumps to keep the oil wells flowing. Inside, the home is staged like a family still lives there. There are vintage family photos, furniture, and antique kitchen appliances. There’s also a loom, a machine for weaving yarn together for making blankets and other items.
Farming and ranching was a major influence on the local economy during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Old tractors, wagons, and harvesting equipment are displayed outside. The best-preserved machine is a vintage peanut thresher. The old windmill standing next to the barn is also worth checking out.
|Address:||1522 E Hwy 82|
Nocona, TX 76255