Texas Forts Trail Region

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


Photo by TXDOT

History bustles in Ballinger with a thriving historic downtown, restored period homes and the 1889 Runnels County Courthouse. Every April the courthouse square—one of the largest in the state—showcases ethnic foods, arts and entertainment during the Texas State Festival of Ethnic Cultures and Arts & Crafts Show. Rising from the courthouse square’s spacious lawn, the Charles H. Noyes Monument dates to 1919. Created by famed Italian sculptor Pompeo Coppini, the life-sized bronze of a young horseman memorializes a local rancher’s son killed in a range mishap. Born as a railroad town in 1886, Ballinger got a Spanish Revival-style Santa Fe depot in 1911, now home of the chamber of commerce and city offices. That same year, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built a new library for the promising West Texas town. The restored landmark remains one of Texas’ few Carnegie libraries still serving its original purpose. During World War II, the nearby U.S. Army Air Force flight school, Harmon Training Center, used the Carnegie’s second-floor auditorium as an Army-Navy Club to entertain cadets.