Ever Been To The Iris Village? Chillicothe Is More Than A Stop on US 287
Over the weekend, I found myself having to make a quick trip down to Austin. Rather than make my way down though the Hub City and the lonely open Concho Valley of US-84, I opted for a direct trip via US 287 and I-35.
On the way in to DFW, I found myself stopping in Chillicothe. It may not be your first choice in getaways, but there is something to the town that keeps it on the map.
The Early Days of Chillicothe
Chillicothe, which is the Shawnee word for "Big Town", was founded in 1889 and was named by A.E. Jones after his hometown with the same name in Missouri. At last count, the population was about 700, which is a decline from the 1,500 reported in the 1930 U.S. Census.
The town saw much of its early growth in the late 1800s when the Fort Worth and Denver City rail line passed through. It gets its nickname of Iris Village from the large numbers of the flower throughout the city.
An Terrible Fire
The Iris Village had its first major setback when a fire destroyed most of the original townsite north of the rail lines. It was rebuilt south of the tracks quickly afterwards and grain elevators were built and operational by 1893. There are a few folks who called Chillicothe home including Texas Tech alumni Herschel "Red" Ramsey who happened to be the first Red Raider football player to be drafted to the NFL in 1938. Rockabilly Singer and Hall-of-Fam'er Lew Williams also called Chillicothe home before moving to Dallas at age 11.
Today, the pace of life is slower in this town, but do make a point to stop by Love's BBQ (no affiliation with the travel center) for a good dose of smoked meats, then head to get a great cup of coffee over at the Turquoise Coffee Shop. You'll find a few nice folks there who love to talk town.