Great Western Cattle Trail – Kerrville, Texas

 

This historical marker is located at 1425 Harper Road (FM 783) north of Kerrville, east side, across from Valle Vista Dr. This trail started out in Bandera Texas (South of San Antonio) and ended in Dodge City, Kansas.

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The route was founded by Captain John T. Lytle in 1874 to heard longhorn cattle. (see Western Trail below) This trail would become one of the most traveled and famous cattle trails in U.S. history.

Cow-TownsTraffic along the trail began to decline in 1885 due to the spreading use of barbed wire fences and the legislation calling for a quarantine of Texas cattle due to the “Texas Fever

great_western_cattle_trail
Artist: Barbara Vaupel, Oklahoma State Senate Art Collection

 

Historical Marker Reads:

Great Western Cattle Trail

In 1874, rancher John T. Lytle founded the Great Western Cattle Trail, which became the primary route through which cattle came to northern U.S. markets. The route, also known as the Western Trail, the Dodge City Trail and the Fort Griffin Trail, was over 2,000 miles long, extending from Texas to Canada. During its existence, hundreds of thousands of heads of cattle passed over the trail each year. It entered Kerr County at Bandera Pass, followed the old road (now State Highway 173) through Camp Verde and Verde Pass, crossing the Guadalupe River at Kerrville. Kerrville became a center for trail outfitters and contractors, mostly at the Charles A. Schreiner Mercantile, while cattle pens operated near McFarland Street above Town Creek. The trail then followed Town Creek north along what is now Harper Road and departed the county north over the Peril Divide. In 1874, Charles A. Schreiner of Kerrville and John W. Light joined Lytle’s cattle business; they operated their firm out of Lytle (Atascosa Co.) and Kerrville. In 1887, Schreiner bought full control of the firm. Schreiner was politically and financially instrumental to Kerrville; he invested in local banking and mercantile ventures, and was a philanthropist in the community. By 1886, the route was no longer used as a cattle trail. The overgrazing of grasslands, extension of railroads, fencing in of the open range and oversupply of cattle were among the factors that led to the demise of cattle drives. However, the Great Western Trail continues to be remembered as a significant development that shaped the culture and history of Kerr County, and of Texas and the nation at large.

Recorded year 2009

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