Two small towns in Central Texas

Here we go. I created a loose itinerary to follow; we arranged for pet care and loaded up the car. Here is the story of our visit to two small towns in central Texas; places I had never before heard of.

Our actual destination was Palo Duro Canyon, so not a great deal of time was available to investigate these communities thoroughly. There is much more to see and do, and we plan to travel here again and spend more time.

Hico – Where Everybody Is Somebody

Hico Building Center Mural

Have you ever heard of Hico, Texas? Steve had stopped here a few years ago when he was traveling for work and very correctly thought I might enjoy visiting here. Hico (pronounced High-co) with a population of approximately 1,450 and incorporated in 1883, was the shipping center of Hamilton County.

Hico later became associated with cattle and cotton, and today is a ranching community and tourist destination.

In Hico today, you will find great restaurants, antique and gift shops, wineries, and of course, history and festivals. A Steak Cookoff competition held in May each year brings thousands of tourists and competitors to town. I have put this event on my calendar; it is a great reason to revisit Hico.

Flacas Fitness and Brews Restaurant

We wandered along the main boulevard looking in shop windows and ended up at the very colorful Flacas, where we enjoyed a great pulled pork sandwich and street tacos. We ordered at the counter and ate our meal at one of the outside tables. Great food, helpful and friendly people.

Billy the Kid Museum

Most everything was closed in Hico when we arrived that late Monday afternoon, so we made it a point to return home at the end of our trip by the same route and explore more of Hico when shops and more restaurants were open. An unusual attraction in Hico is the Billy the Kid Museum!

The museum provides evidence and claims that Billy the Kid, a notorious American Old West outlaw, and gunfighter was not killed by Pat Garrett in 1881 as many believe, but lived out a full life in Hico as Brushy Bill Roberts and died there in 1950.

Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid was shot dead and buried by sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881.

Or not.

“The grave in Fort Sumner has no body in it,” said Sue Land, director of the Billy the Kid Museum. “They have a grave, but unless you ask they never mention not having a body.”

The Billy the Kid Museum turns traditional Western history on its head with the claim that Billy did not die in 1881; he escaped and, decades later, settled in Hico, calling himself William “Brushy Bill” Roberts.

Midland Hotel

The Midland Hotel, constructed in 1891, reopened in the last few years and is a beautiful historical piece of art today. Unfortunately, we were not able to view any of the rooms on this particular day. The beautifully decorated hotel lobby and onsite restaurant Chop House are spacious and sparkling clean.

Silver Spur Winery

Here we enjoyed a tasting of seven of the wines the winery produces. Each one we sampled was good, every one different, and we purchased a bottle of my top choice, Donaciano III, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

We had the good fortune to visit with the owner Phil Lopez as we sampled our wine. Mr. Lopez had a great story to tell about learning his craft when he lived in California and, after many years, returning to Texas with his new skills and knowledge to create a thriving and successful winery.

Wiseman House Chocolates

Two small towns in Central Texas

Wiseman House Chocolates is a terrific chocolate delights and gift shop. I could have purchased my weight in chocolate here.


Two small towns in Central Texas

On our return trip home, we stayed overnight in Stephenville, less than a 15-minute drive to Dublin. Dublin, founded in 1854 by A. H. Dobkins is in Erath County and has a population of approximately 3,854.

Where did Dublin get its name? Did Dublin’s name evolve from the cry that went out just before Indian raids, “Double In.” Perhaps it is named after the capital of Ireland? Could it have gotten its name from the double-log cabins settlers built? What’s your guess?

Dr Pepper Museum (Dublin Bottling Works)

Two small towns in Central Texas

I give our tour of the Dublin Bottling Works five stars. Our tour guide, Sam, takes great pride in Dublin Bottling Works and displays that pride in her tour narration.

We particularly enjoyed the history of Dr Pepper and Dublin Bottling Works and seeing the memorabilia related to the owner, W. P. Kloster, as well as the excellent story as to why Dublin Bottling Works no longer bottles Dr Pepper.

It does bottle several soda flavors (grapefruit is just one) in its facility, using cane sugar and not corn syrup as its sweetener, just as it bottled  Dr Pepper so many years ago. This museum is not the Waco Dr Pepper Museum.

Although Dr Pepper, which originated in Waco, Texas, is no longer bottled here, Dublin Bottling Works is the world’s oldest bottler of Dr Pepper.

After our tour, we stopped by Old Doc’s Soda Shop, and purchased a six-pack of assorted flavored sodas, AND two rootbeer frosty’s, which we enjoyed on a bench outside of the Soda Shop in the sun. Delicious!

Katelyn, Elizabeth, and Sam

In 2005, Dublin was designated as the official Irish Capital of Texas and is home to many of Irish American descent.

Two small towns in Central Texas

W. M. Wright Historical Park w/log cabin constructed in 1855
Between West Elm and West Blackjack Streets, Dublin, TX 76446

After enjoying our rootbeer frosty’s from Old Doc’s Soda Shop, we got in the car and started our trip home. We met some extraordinary people during these few days, saw some interesting sights, and learned a little bit about these two towns in central Texas. Where to next?

These are some of the must-haves for us when we do go on a road trip. What we need, of course, also depends on where, how long, and who.

Two small towns in Central Texas

10 thoughts on “Two small towns in Central Texas

  1. I love Dublin! That cabin in the historical park was built by my 4th great grandfather, Chesley Turnbow. He settled in the Dublin area in 1855. I was able to take my grandchildren there in June, so they were able to stand in the cabin that their 6th great grandfather built!

    1. What a terrific family history and a wonderful experience and memory for you and your grandchildren!

    2. Kathy. Chesley Turnbow was my 3rd great grandfather. We’re related! And what a nice article about a town I spent a lot of time visiting when I was younger. I haven’t been back there in years.

  2. Pingback: Is a visit to Palo Duro Canyon worth the trip? | Always Want To Go
  3. living in Texas and never knew.. really like the information that you present.
    i need a list and do some of these things..

    1. There are a LOT of things to see in small Texas towns. I’m glad you discovered some new ones in my story. Thank you.

  4. Wow! I really want to go to Hico and take my son, he would enjoy seeing a real old Texas town. Both places look like must visits whenever I can get to Texas. Did you stay at the Midland Hotel? I am enjoying your blogs on small historic places around Texas, the state is so big it would be like exploring an entire country. Keep them coming!


    1. Thank you, Mary. I think you’d love these towns; great history, food and sights to see. We did not get to stay at the Midland Hotel because we ran out of time away from our dogs. I do want to return and spend some time there though.

  5. Cool little towns! I’m not brave enough to travel yet. 🙂

    1. They were really great towns to visit. I do understand about not being ready to travel yet. We were very careful, stayed to ourselves. washed our hands a LOT, and I checked out our overnight stays ahead of time. We learned from the people we talked to in these small towns that COVID is not really a thing in their communities. We did not talk to anyone that had any connection to a positive tested person. I seriously hope we are able to take longer trips someday soon, and, as great as they are, are not limited to small towns.

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