Have you ever watched Red River? Well, you don’t get much more Texan than John Wayne and cattle drives. Have you ever wanted to step into that world for a couple hours? Just outside downtown Dallas there is such a place where it is, in fact, possible.
The Dallas Heritage Village is a unique project, basically a collection of historic buildings and furnishings, representing the period 1840-1910. These buildings came from all over Dallas and North Central Texas, so yes, these buildings were rebuilt in their current location in order to better preserve them.
Though maybe not a walk down the Chisholm Trail, there are 21 buildings for you to peruse and explore. You’re able to go inside all the buildings, including a schoolhouse, bank, plantation mansion, and saloon. The village is a living museum, with active characters onsite to answer any questions you may have.
I got to go with my boyfriend, Victor, and we also got to meet with one of my old study abroad buddies! She now lives in Fort Worth, so I feel incredibly lucky that we got to reunite. She had never been to the Dallas Heritage Village, so I’m happy to say I got to show a local around!
Dallas is a weird kind of city, simple because it’s not obvious what you should visit. There are a couple obvious attractions that every city has, like a museum of art, a nice park, and a downtown strip. Victor and I tried asking some locals that we met at the wedding what we should see, but everyone seemed pretty stumped. I got the impression that no one had ever tried exploring their own city!
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something fairly unique to do in Dallas, explore the Dallas Heritage Village for a while. It’s a nice couple hours. Plus, the park has plenty shade and most of the buildings are air-conditioned! Talk about a nice modern upgrade.
“Give me ten years, and I’ll have that brand on the gates of the greatest ranch in Texas. The big house will be down by the river, and the corrals and the barns behind it. It’ll be a good place to live in. Ten years and I’ll have the Red River D on more cattle than you’ve looked at anywhere. I’ll have that brand on enough beef to feed the whole country. Good beef for hungry people. Beef to make ‘em strong, make ’em grow. But it takes work, and it takes sweat, and it takes time, lots of time. It takes years.”
– Red River (1948)