Hereford has several fascinating historical sites to visit, such as the Deaf Smith County Museum, the World War II Prisoner of War Camp Chapel, and the Victorian style E.B. Black House, a Texas Historical Landmark.

graphicE.B. BLACK HOUSE
The E.B. Black House, a Texas Historical Landmark registered with the Texas Historical Commission and the National Register of Historic Places, is an adjunct to the Deaf Smith County Museum. This late Victorian house is an excellent example of early West Texas residential architecture. 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 and Commissioner's Court in 1972. The Black family specified that the house was to be used for the benefit of the community. The lovely grounds include a flower garden complete with an elegant, old-fashioned gazebo - an excellent location for bridal portraits or weddings. Today, the beautifully restored home serves as a place for private parties and receptions as well as for clubs and organizations to hold group meetings. Reservations for use are made through the Deaf Smith County Museum.

DEAF SMITH COUNTY MUSEUM
Deaf Smith County Museum began as an effort to preserve the rich history of this community. Mrs. Bessie Patterson's History of Deaf Smith County, written in 1964, so inspired local residents that the Deaf Smith County Historical Society was formed. The County Commissioners of that day saw the value of preserving the local history for future generations and donated a county building to house the surviving treasures.
The museumÕs theme, 'How Our Pioneers Lived, Worked, and Played,' is evident throughout the unique displays.graphic Indian artifacts show evidence of the first residents of this area. Arrow points, pottery, tools, and other items from a private collection are part of the museum displays. The country store makes up another display area. One of the greatest hardships for the early settlers was learning to live on the lonely, vast, and sparsely populated plains. The country store not only offered necessary provision, 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 keepsakes that remain from the first churches built in the county. It reminds us that a great abiding faith in God's providence and power to provide came to the plains with the families that settled here. The outdoor display area is enriched by a completely furnished replica of the first home in Deaf Smith 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 to honor Ruby Kendrick Sears for her service to the Deaf Smith County Historical Society and Museum. A quiet and beautiful retreat in the middle of downtown Hereford, this is the perfect place to rest, reflect, and enjoy its charm.
Other exhibits include: Santa Fe caboose, Historic windmill, Wooden barn, Hand carved circus, Farm implements, First jail cell

graphicPRISONER OF WAR CAMP CHAPEL
During World War II, Deaf Smith County became the site for 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 early 1943. Italian captives arrived in April that same year. By September of 1943, the camp contained 4,000 prisoners. The location of the camp on the flat plains served as a deterrent to escape since an escaping prisoner would be easily spotted. However, one escaped prisoner, Luigi Montalbetti traveled 300 miles toward Mexico before he was recaptured by the border patrol, twenty-seven days after he left camp. More details and photographs of the camp can be found at the Deaf Smith County Museum. Today, a water tower and the chapel memorial are all that remain of the POW camp. In 1955, nine Italian men responsible for painting the murals in the St. Mary's Catholic Church in Umbarger (20 miles northeast of Hereford) returned to present a memorial plaque dedicated to the Italian prisoners. The English translation of the plaque reads, "In glory and everlasting memory of future Italian patriots."
Many thanks go to the Charles Schlabs family for their dedicated preservation of the campgrounds.

 

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