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Texas Forts Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Breckenridge


Photo by TXDOT

When visitors come to admire the 1926 Classical Revival-style Stephens County Courthouse, many are surprised to find a steel oil derrick looming across the street. The non-working rig marks downtown like a pushpin on a map, while honoring the 1920s oil boom era that put Breckenridge on the map. A wall-sized mural flanks the derrick, one of a dozen murals recognized by the State Legislature when it named Breckenridge the “Mural Capital of Texas.” The murals’ historical depictions come from early photographs of oil boom photographer Basil Clemmons, whose collection resides in the Swenson Memorial Museum. Housed in a Beaux Arts 1920’s bank a short walk from the courthouse, the museum also features pioneer artifacts and traveling exhibits. The adjacent J.D. Sandefer Oil Annex Museum displays oil boom oilfield equipment. Just outside town at the county airport, vintage aircraft—including a Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat and the FM-2P Wildcat—recall the stirring struggles of World War II.


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