Hereford has several fascinating historical sites to visit, such as the Deaf Smith County Museum, the Prisoner of War Camp, and the Victorian style E.B. Black House.
E. B. BLACK HOUSE
The E. B. Black House, a Texas Historical Landmark, is an adjunct to the Deaf Smith County Museum. Built in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Black, this house served as the family’s home until it was given to the Deaf Smith County Historical Society in 1972.Today, the beautifully restored home serves as a place for private parties and receptions as well as a place for clubs and organizations to hold group meetings. The beautiful landscape and garden gazebo provide a great atmosphere for outdoor weddings. Reservations for usage are made through the Deaf Smith County Museum.
DEAF SMITH COUNTY MUSEUM
The Deaf Smith County Museum began as an effort to preserve the rich history of this community. The museum’s theme, "How our Pioneers Lived, Worked and Played," is evident throughout the unique displays.
Indian artifacts show evidence of the first residents of this area.
Arrowheads, pottery, tools, and other items from a private collection are part of the museum displays.
The Country Store makes up another display area. It not only offered necessary provisions, but also became a social center. It was a place to visit neighbors, meet newcomers to the region, and get news from back home.
The Chapel is non-denominational. This exhibit is made up of relics that remain from the first churches that were built in the county. It reminds us of a deep abiding faith held by the early settlers.
The outdoor display area is enriched by a completely furnished replica of the first home in the county, a half-dugout. There were no forests to supply lumber for houses and no great outcropping of stone to furnish rock for building, so the pioneers "dug in." These dwellings proved more than adequate for life on the open prairie.
When visiting the Deaf Smith County Museum, don’t forget to visit the lovely Sears Memorial Garden. Established in honor of Ruby Kendrick Sears, it is a quiet and beautiful retreat in the middle of downtown Hereford and is the perfect place to rest, reflect, and enjoy its charm.
PRISONER OF WAR CAMP CHAPEL
During World War II, Hereford became the site of a prisoner of war camp named the Hereford Internment Area. Covering a section of land, the camp was constructed in 1942 at a cost of two million dollars. The first American Military Police unit arrived in 1943. Italian captives arrived in April of that same year. By September of 1943, the camp contained 4,000 prisoners. The openness of the flat plains served as a deterrent to escape since escapees would be easily spotted. However, one escapee named Luigi Montalbetti traveled 300 miles toward Mexico before he was recaptured by the Texas Border Patrol. Details and photographs of the camp can be found in the Deaf Smith County Museum.
Today, a water tower and a chapel memorial are all that remain of the camp. In 1955, nine Italian men returned to present a memorial plaque dedicated to the Italian prisoners. The plaque reads " In glory and everlasting memory of future Italian patriots."
DEAF SMITH COUNTY LIBRARY
In 1910, the library boasted of 400 books in the back room of a store on south Main Street. In 1930, the Commissioner’s Court voted to allow the library to occupy a room in the court-house and approved a tax levy to support it. In 1974, the library moved to its current location at 211 East Fourth Street. It houses over 79,000 items that include books, videos, books on tape, magazines, and newspapers. The library offers audio-visual equipment checkout, preschool story times, Summer Reading Club, adult programming, and interlibrary loan. Hereford residents are allowed the ability to visit other area libraries and obtain other services due to the affiliation with Harrington Library Consortium.
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