R.H. Stuckey designed the Hardeman County Courthouse, completed in 1908 in a Beaux-Arts style. The brick county capitol is topped by a small dome. The community rededicated the courthouse in May 2014 following a major restoration project.
Hardeman County initially was created in 1858 from Fannin County but remained unsettled. The county was re-created in 1876 and was organized in 1884, when Margaret was named the county seat. Margaret referred to Margaret Wesley, the first white child born in the county, while Hardeman honored Bailey and Thomas Jones Hardeman, brothers and early Texas public servants.
When the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad came to town, Quanah was founded, named after Quanah Parker, a Comanche chief. In 1890, an election was conducted regarding the county seat.
According to The Handbook of Texas, “As it was decided that a voter could establish residence by having his laundry done in a town for six weeks, all the railroad crews are said to have become citizens in time to vote for Quanah.”
The new county seat fought for survival several times during its first few years. On June 4, 1891, a four-hour drenching that brought 14 inches of rain destroyed much of the town and local farmers’ wheat crops. Less than three months later, a fire wiped out many local business buildings. Quanah rebuilt and recovered, becoming the county’s market center.
Hardeman County is home to a variety of attractions including the following:
- Quanah Parker Monument: Located on the courthouse square, this marker tells the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, taken captive at age 9 during an 1836 raid on Parker’s Fort. Cynthia Ann Parker was recaptured, along with her daughter, in 1860 as part of a raid on the Pease River. However, she had spent 24 years among the Comanche, and she never readjusted to living with whites again. Quanah Parker, son of Comanche Chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann, was the last great Comanche chief.
- Hardeman County Museum: Housed in the old 1891 jail, the lower floor of the museum features exhibits while the upper floor retains the jail’s original cells.
- Quanah Acme and Pacific Depot Museum: An extension of the county museum, this 1908 depot is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The building’s exterior, boasting a Spanish Colonial Revival style, has been restored.
- Medicine Mound: Located 12 miles east of Quanah, this area was named after four local elevations, 200 feet to 250 feet high. The mounds were camps and ceremonial sites of the Comanches. The Medicine Mound community moved a short distance north in 1908, when the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway was built.
Finally, Copper Breaks State Park offers everything from camping, hiking, biking, and fishing to horseback riding and swimming. In addition, the International Dark Sky Association has designated Copper Breaks as an International Dark Sky Park.
To read more about the county’s 2014 courthouse restoration project, check out our February 2015 issue!