The centerpiece of the Buffalo Gap Historic Village is the 1879 structure that housed both the courthouse and jail for Taylor County. A doctor’s office, barbershop, railroad depot, bank, post office, print shop, private homes, and the Nazarene Church are other highlights of this potpourri of buildings brought together to create the Village. The McWhiney History Education Group operates the Village with the intent of teaching history through a virtual laboratory of living history. Students and faculty members from McMurry University are also heavily involved in the preservation and interpretation at this site, and it serves as an integral element of the local education and tourism scene.
Preservation of a single historic structure can be difficult, and keeping this collection of buildings in good enough condition to operate as a public space poses its own set of challenges. As work on structural preservation and reconfiguration of the site develops, it is the stories told in these places that keep visitors engaged for a longer time that one could imagine. At the admission desk, pick up a sound wand, a device about the size of a cell phone. This device is full of stories related to the buildings and their former inhabitants. The stories are short, artfully written and told by some master storytellers. There is enough information presented for a visitor to spend several hours just listening to the audio, but coupled with the structures and their associated artifacts, a complete experience engages guests of all ages.