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Texas Plains Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Turkey


Photo by Rick Vanderpool

TURKEY TRACKS

The Texas Plains Trail town of Turkey (average population 447) appears to have tipped time’s arrow on its head. Like many rural agrarian communities across Texas, Turkey still depends on an all-volunteer fire department, the best food in town can be found at a family owned and operated café, historic accommodations (the Hotel Turkey, built in 1927) can usually be secured at a moment’s notice,  and Main Street is especially quiet on Sundays.  Beef as well as signature smoked turkey is prepared by local volunteer groups like the Lions Club, particularly on Jamboree nights, the first Saturday evening of each month when five dollars will get you a full barbeque dinner and a two hour musical show at the Gem Theater downtown. Turkey is also the boyhood haunt of country swing king Bob Wills. The town’s annual celebration, Bob Wills Day, attracts diehard fans of western swing, the musical style that once dominated charts and rural radio stations throughout the 1930’s. The nostalgic sense of the 30’s still lingers in Turkey, particularly along its edges. Here, tidy streets end, plowed fields begin and a pastoral, multi-use trail system called the Caprock Canyons Trailway leads you across the region’s halcyon backyard, into the rural agrarian plains and broken rangeland of caprock country, and out of this century completely.


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