The Texas Ranger
A New Addition At The Buckhorn
By Gerry Lair Photography Courtesy
of the Texas Ranger Museum
History buffs, the Texas Ranger Museum is certainly worthy of your attention. No matter whether you are a local or a tourist, taking an hour or two out of the rest of your life to acquaint yourself with the history of this legendary group of lawmen will prove to be a very worthwhile venture.
Located within the friendly confines of the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum at the corner of Houston and Presa Streets in the downtown sector, this new 8,000-square-foot facility has been strategically designed in three distinct venues for easy viewing of its collection.
Guests enter through the Ranger Gallery, where early Texas history is portrayed, beginning with Stephen F. Austin’s original colony, followed by the formation of the Rangers, and continuing through the remainder of the 1800s.
Next comes Tales of the Texas Rangers. This venue houses a gallery of 15 display cases expertly hand-crafted by Charles Trois of the Trois Estate near Fredericksburg. These handsome wood and glass enclosures are loaded with photographs, newspaper clippings, artifacts and memorabilia that perfectly blend to offer visitors a well-documented history of this one-of-a-kind force.
For example, the storied careers of many Texas Rangers are visually depicted in this section, including those of Francis Augustus Hamer (known for tracking down Bonnie and Clyde), Zeno Smith (the only Ranger ever allowed to wear a black hat), and A.Y. Allee (a third-generation Ranger who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather). Lingering equals learning. Take time and read your way through the many exhibits available here.
The third venue is Ranger Town, a re-creation of old San Antonio as it was in the very early 1900s. Storefronts include Charles Hummel Gun Shop, Hart’s Cigar Store, Albert’s Saloon, Frost Bank, San Antonio Express-News, L. Frank Saddlery, and A. Cassiano & Bros. Groceries (where you could park your wagon for free in their camp yard).
Also a part of this area is a Bonnie and Clyde exhibit complete with a beautifully restored 1934 Ford, exactly like the one driven by these notorious outlaws at the time of their demise.
I recently toured the facility with Dave George, curator and general manager, who explained, “This museum is a joint effort between the 110-year-old Former Texas Rangers Association in Kerrville and the Buckhorn. The Rangers provided the artifacts, and we supply the day-to-day operations.” The museum opened in October of 2006, keeping the vast history of the Rangers alive in the Alamo City. Prior to this, the collection was housed in Memorial Hall next to the Witte Museum.
Obviously the super-litmus test for this museum has come from the Rangers themselves. When asked about this, George replied, “The Rangers who have seen the exhibit really like the manner in which the information and artifacts are organized and presented. Needless to say, it has been very gratifying to receive their positive comments and to realize they wholeheartedly approve of our efforts.”
Texas Rangers’ history has a new home, and a good one it is. Just ask the Rangers.