Although Crowell incorporated in 1908 (a late start by Texas standards), the year the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway reached the community, the area earned a place in Texas history much earlier courtesy of Captain Lawrence Sullivan Ross, Texas Ranger. In 1860, Ross fought the Comanche near the site of the future Crowell where captive Cynthia Ann Parker, married to Comanche warrior Peta Nocona, was camped with other members of her adopted tribe. Ross returned Parker to Anglo society despite her desire to stay with her Comanche family and she died less than a decade later.
Crowell hit boom times after the turn of the 19th century, providing today’s heritage travelers with an interesting array of sites including the Cynthia Ann Parker/Pease River Battlefield Marker, the 1908 Santa Fe Depot Museum, the Crowell Firehall Museum, the Quanah Parker Trail, and the Foard County Veterans Memorial Wall. Crowell’s remote, rural location also means a significant reduction in light pollution, making its night skies particularly dark. As a result, the Three Rivers Foundation for the Arts and Sciences elected to make Crowell home to the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, a 700-acre facility featuring telescopes, observatories, and classrooms all designed to study the planets, stars, and galaxies.