A mural of a cow and turkey in a natural scene with type reading "Welcome to Cuero"
The mural on Cuero’s Main Street was painted by artist Rafael Acosta Jr.
Cuero was founded in 1873 with the arrival of the Gulf, Western Texas, and Pacific Railway, and it quickly became an agricultural center for cattle, cotton, and poultry. As the DeWitt County seat, the town persisted through the notorious Sutton-Taylor Feud, a violent series of revenge killings that terrorized local residents for about 10 years in the aftermath of the Civil War. The cattle industry grew out of that turbulent time as cowboys drove Longhorns to northern markets via the Chisholm Trail, a historic era chronicled at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum. Cuero’s past is also evident in its architecture, including the 1896 Romanesque Revival DeWitt County Courthouse. The town benefits from the oil and gas extraction from the Eagle Ford Shale, and many downtown buildings have been restored and repurposed. A proliferation of murals by artist Rafael Acosta Jr. beautifies the city, including its drive-through art alley. This mix of history and culture provides a fitting backdrop every October for Turkeyfest, Cuero’s annual event paying homage to its poultry industry.

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A collage of images of the places featured in this article

Stay

Eat

See

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Drink

1 / Proctor-Green House​
Kentucky native David Proctor, a lawyer who moved to Texas and represented wealthy ranching and railroad interests, built this late-Victorian, Queen Anne-style home in 1892. Restored in 2013 and featuring period furnishings, the three-bedroom home is available for tours, events, and lodging ($250/night)

2 / English-German School
Part of the Chisolm Trail Heritage Museum, the English-German School is a restored schoolhouse from the 1880s. Vintage school desks occupy the wood-frame building, where pupils once learned basic subjects plus English, German, and Latin. After being closed to the public since 1894, the museum salvaged the school in 2014.

3 / Green Cow Creamery
Dessert lovers are welcome to this emerald-accented ice cream shop on Main Street. The shop uses locally sourced ingredients to churn flavors such as salted caramel and white chocolate peppermint. Green Cow also serves nondairy and alcohol-infused varieties, like cranberry wine sorbet, and offers ice cream making classes.

4 / La Bella Tavola
This casual restaurant, whose name translates to “The Beautiful Table,” is set in a repurposed filling station. With indoor and outdoor seating, the eatery serves traditional and affordable Italian cuisine, including soups, salads, pastas, and steaks. The New York-style pizzas feature a few nontraditional flavors, such as Philly cheesesteak and chicken Alfredo.

5 / Pharmacy and Medical Museum of Texas
Set aside at least an hour to visit this museum, which is filled with artifacts of Texas medicine dating to the late 1800s. It occupies a restored 1889 pharmacy building and includes a pharmacist’s compounding table, displays of herbal extracts and snake oils, replicas of doctor offices, and an oxygen air lock—similar to an iron lung—for infants.

6 / Slone Saddles
“Saddle making is all about the rider’s size and the shape of the horse,” says Tod Slone, who opened his saddle shop in 1996 to serve the area’s ranchers and rodeo riders. Slone specializes in rodeo competition saddles and sells hand-tooled Western models and other accessories such as buckles, conchos, and equine boots.

7 / Guadalupe Valley Paddling Trail
With the Guadalupe River flowing nearby, paddlers have three access points: FM 766, State Highway 72, and FM 236. The 13.8-mile trail takes a half-day to navigate. Fish for largemouth and spotted bass, catfish, and redear sunfish. Bird sightings may include egrets, kingfishers, and bald eagles.

8 / Cuero Heritage Museum
Set in the 1915 Cuero Post Office building, the museum’s exhibits feature Cuero’s history and colorful personalities, such as Kathy Dell, who was a bandleader, champion trick roper, and bull rider on the All Girls Pro Rodeo Circuit. Visitors can learn about local railroad history and the town’s golden age of “turkey trots.”

A black and white illustration of a turkey

Turkey Trotting

Raising turkeys was big business for Cuero residents in the early 1900s. Each fall, farmers herded thousands of birds to the processing plant, creating a spectacle that drew tourists to watch turkeys walk through the streets. In 1912, Cuero began promoting the “Turkey Trot” and rounded out the weekend with activities. As Cuero farmers moved away from raising turkeys, the town replaced the Turkey Trot with Turkeyfest in 1973. The celebration includes a parade, band performances, a carnival, and the Great Gobbler Gallop—a race between a Cuero turkey and a turkey from Worthington, Minnesota. The town with the fastest turkey is declared “Turkey Capital of the World” until the next year. Turkeyfest takes place Oct. 13-15.
turkeyfest.org

Patriot RV Park features 96 spaces (starting at $35/night) plus five duplex cabins and a tiny home. The park, just south of downtown, welcomes pets and offers laundry facilities, showers, and restrooms. 1008 S. Esplanade St. 361-214-3525;
patriotrvparks.com/cuero-texas

From the April 2023 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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