Texas Plains Trail Region

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


Photo by Rick Vanderpool

Good land and water have long attracted ranchers and farmers to Deaf Smith County. After a railroad passed this way in the late 1890s, a town called Blue Water sprang up. Settlers changed the name to Hereford when cattlemen imported the British livestock in 1898, and the town became the county seat. As early as 1904 some called it the Windmill City for the 400 windmills dotting the flat landscape. In the mid-20th century, scientists noticed that the mineral-rich water helped prevent tooth decay, earning Hereford the moniker, “Town Without a Toothache.” Today, the 1910 Deaf Smith County Courthouse anchors a charming downtown in this self-proclaimed "Beef Capital of the World." The Deaf Smith County Museum chronicles county history in a 1927 Catholic school building. The museum’s general store and family parlor recall life in 1900. One unusual display shows scale-model circus scenes made locally to entertain families during the Great Depression. There’s also farm equipment, the county’s original steel-cage jail cell and a replica of an 1890s dugout home. During World War II, Hereford hosted a prisoner of war camp housing several thousand Italian soldiers, many of whom were artisans and craftsmen. These men designed and built a chapel out of concrete made to resemble marble as a memorial to five Italians who died while interned. A water tower and the restored chapel can be visited just three miles south of Hereford in a corn field.