Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Weatherford

By Peter Simek 2.14.24

Weatherford is having its Hollywood moment. In 2021, filmmaker and “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan purchased a 266,255-acre, $320 million-plus ranch northwest of the city and moved production of the show’s spinoff, “1883,” to the area. Since then, it has not been uncommon to see stars like Sam Elliott and Tim McGraw around town. 

The setting for the show couldn’t be more fitting. Long known as the “Cutting Horse Capital of the World,” Weatherford has a history steeped in Texas cattle and ranching. If nearby Fort Worth is “where the West begins,” then it might be said that Weatherford is where the West really gets going. Let’s take a spin through the classic Texas town and discover how that cowboy history and new Hollywood sheen come together.

Photo by Betty Wills

Into the West

Weatherford was one of North Texas’ premier settlements when it was first incorporated in 1858. Its growth could be attributed to its strategic geographic location on a crest between the Brazos and Trinity river valleys, which offered protection from frontier raids as well as easy access to trading roots.

By the mid-1890s, the town gained a railroad, the seat of Parker County, and a population of around 5,000 and 100 new businesses. Although flourishing Fort Worth would soon eclipse the town, Weatherford would remain an important commercial center for the North Texas ranching community. That tradition continues, and today, the area is home to over 70 cutting horse ranches and numerous professional trainers, riders, and famous horses.

Frontier Elegance

One of the best ways to soak up the town’s history is to take a drive. Weatherford is home to a number of Victorian, Queen Anne, and Greek Revival homes, one of which was once home to “Dallas” star Larry Hagman. Other notable icons who called Weatherford home include the trail drivers Oliver Loving and Bose Ikard, who helped inspire Larry McMurtry’s western classic “Lonesome Dove.” Visitors can pay homage at their graves in Greenwood Cemetery.

Once you have gotten the lay of the town, head to the central square to admire the Second Empire-style courthouse — one of Texas’ finest. From there, several top attractions and adorable antique shops are within walking distance. The Museum of the Americas displays local art patrons Harold and Elizabeth Lawrence’s collection of Native American artifacts, crafts, and folk art. Take a tour of the nearby Chandor Mansion and Gardens, which features a 3.5-acre oasis designed by the painter Douglas Chandor.

Peachy Keen on Culture

No visit to Weatherford is complete without experiencing its culture and flavor. The Theatre Off The Square stages classic theatrical productions, and The Peach is a cozy venue on the square to catch live music. Before the show, swing right around the corner to Fire Oak Grill, which serves up Texas classics with elevated style. 

Weatherford also celebrates its heritage through various music and food festivals. The Parker County Peach Festival, a summer highlight, showcases the town’s agricultural roots and is a delight for all senses. Stroll through rows of vendors and soak in the sweet aroma of fresh peaches as local musicians provide a lively backdrop.

Keep reading for a complete behind-the-scenes look at the Texas settings of “Yellowstone” and “1883.”

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