There’s a good amount of people outside of Texas who may not know of or have heard of the city of Cleburne, Texas. Cleburne is an established township which is considered part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, sitting on its south edge forty minutes from the center of the area. This suburban enclave is in possession of a lengthy history, dating back to its beginnings as a camp for Confederate soldiers in the Civil War who served under General Patrick Cleburne, from which the fledgeling town got its name. The city has a distinct Southwestern charm and visitors will be able to tap into it thanks in part to these activities that unfold all that Cleburne has to offer.
1. Visit The Cleburne State Park
This park stretches across 528 acres (214 hectares) of Texan heartland. The park has a varied stretch of terrain that includes rollicking hillsides, grassy plains and thick wooded areas. Visitors come here to get a chance to take in nature in a serene manner, and do so by coming here to hike, ride bikes, have picnics and even camp out. With regards to the latter, there are cabins available with advance notice and screened shelters. The centerpiece is Cedar Lake, where many come to fish and swim.
Cleburne State Park
Address: 5800 Park Road 21 Cleburne, TX 76033
Website: Cleburne State Park
2. Gone With The Wind Remembered
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
For avid fans of the Margaret Mitchell novel and the 1939 film adaptation starring Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable, the Gone With The Wind Remembered Museum is definitely a must-see attraction once arriving in Cleburne. The museum complex is the brainchild of one woman who has spent over 30 years collecting all things GWTW-related.
Once inside, visitors will get the opportunity to see original costumes from the film such as the dresses Scarlett O’Hara wore, and Rhett Butler’s armchair from which he issued that famous line. In addition, there is a section of the museum devoted to Margaret Mitchell and also the actress Butterfly McQueen. There is also a section that displays information and memorabilia from the Civil War. Once done, visitors can check out the gift shop for souvenirs.
Gone With The Wind Remembered
Address: 305 East 2nd Street, Cleburne, TX 76031
Website: Gone With The Wind Remembered
3. The Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum
If you’re hankering for a glimpse of what life was like back in the frontier days of Texas, the move to make is to visit the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum. Those who come here will get a chance to view the history of Cleburne and the entirety of Johnson County, Texas. Once visitors get past the huge tepees and the cattle cutouts at the entrance to the museums grounds, they’ll visit installations that showcase the beginnings of the area. It’s all composed as part of an outdoor trail with markers highlighting different points of interest such as Caddo Peak and a real blacksmith station.
The Chisholm Trail Museum
Address: 101 Chisholm Trail, Cleburne, TX 76033-0771
Website: The Chisholm Trail Museum
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4. Layland Museum
Over on Caddo Street sits the Layland Museum. The museum was built in 1963 thanks to the benevolence of a local businessman, William J. Layland. Having first occupied a part of the city library, it took its current place 15 years later. The Layland Museum is home to a few permanent exhibits that speak to various points in the history of Johnson County and the state of Texas through the eyes of Native Americans and those who made their way there to homestead. The museum also hosts a number of events that bring out the citizens of Cleburne in addition to the historical artifacts they have on display.
Address: 201 Caddo St, Cleburne, TX 76031
Website: Layland Museum
5. Plaza Theatre Company
The Plaza Theatre Company has been a part of the entertainment scene in Cleburne for many years. The non-profit arts group puts on a variety of plays ranging from classical performances to modern productions like “Hairspray” and “Grease”. The company has gained wide appeal as a result, thrilling audiences who make their way to the theater from all over Texas and points beyond. Those who get a chance to visit the Plaza Theatre Company may also get the opportunity to see their youth academy in action, who also put on performances throughout the year.
Plaza Theatre Company
Address: 111 S Main St, Cleburne, TX 76033
Website: Plaza Theatre Company
6. Lake Pat Cleburne
One great pastime in Texas is getting the chance to spend some quality time outdoors. Those who come to Lake Pat Cleburne will get a sizable dose of that feeling. The lake, named after the aforementioned general, was initially built as a reservoir for the city of Cleburne back in 1961 after the Nolan River was dammed up at a certain point. The lake itself covers over 1,500 acres (607 ha), and is about 10 miles (16 km) from Cleburne State Park.
A number of visitors come to the lake to take advantage of the ample fishing opportunities there – the lake is known to have a variety of catfish within its waters as well as some largemouth bass. People also come here to do a bit of boating, as there are two ramps available on the East and west banks of Pat Cleburne Lake. And if you’re the type to wander and take a number of photographs, the area surrounding the lake will give you a few scenic spots to capture.
Lake Pat Cleburne
Website: Lake Pat Cleburne
Some closing thoughts about Cleburne
The city of Cleburne may be small in stature, but a long history in tandem with a down-home sensibility has made this one Texan town to consider for those looking to get a taste of the Southwestern life. No matter if you’re someone who wants to indulge in the great natural expanse of the town, or if you want to dive into the past in a quaint and sometimes rustic fashion, a visit to Cleburne, Texas is fit to fill all of your needs.
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