Cuero is filled with history and fun stories to learn about and share with your family and friends. There are five museums to explore here, so look around and enjoy --- and see what you would like to know more about.
Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum
Take a ride back in time to the year 1866. It is April 1, and with the coming of first light, eighteen hundred head of the toughest Longhorn cattle are gathered at Cardwell Flats (about four miles north of present-day Cuero, Texas). As the story is told, Crockett Cardwell had recognized the abundance of Texas cattle, coupled with the growing demand for beef. Seeing an opportunity, he called on his friend Thornton Chisholm to lead an ambitious cattle drive — all the way to St. Joseph, Missouri. And so this early morning, our story begins with the groan of a wagon wheel and the bawling of cattle in the rising dust, headed due North.
The intriguing lore of this early cattle drive is what prompted a group of dedicated area citizens to establish a museum preserving the history associated with the Chisholm Trail era and Texas' rich ranching and agricultural history. The Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum will acquire, preserve and showcase memorabilia and treasured artifacts that will help bring the stories of cowboys on the Chisholm Trail vividly to life.
The historic Knights of Pythias Hall (c. 1903), listed on the National Register of Historic Places, suits our mission well. Once restored and its interiors are adapted to the needs of a modern museum, it will become a destination for historic tourism and provide an educational experience for area youth. By rejuvenating this important building, we will add to the already impressive list of restored homes and public buildings in South Central Texas that merit preservation for future generations.
Many of the greatest tributaries of the legendary Chisholm Trail originated in DeWitt, Victoria, Goliad, Refugio, Bee, Calhoun, Lavaca, and Gonzales Counties, making our area an integral part in the Reconstruction following the War Between the States. These numerous herds were driven to Northern railheads, providing beef for Midwest and Eastern markets. These cattle herds also formed the foundation stock for cattle raised in the great American West.
Sadly, none of the old trail hands are here to tell their amazing tales. But their memory is still with us, and that's what The Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum is all about.
The museum is not currently open to the general public. More information and details as to its opening can be found on their website www.chisholmtrailmuseum.com
Cuero Chamber of Commerce/Cuero Heritage Museum
124 E. Church
This building, built in 1915 for $62,000, was home to the Cuero Post Office and other Federal offices. The Post Office was moved to a new building in 1962. The remaining Federal offices were gradually moved to other locations, leaving the fine old building vacant in 1987. The City of Cuero was able to acquire the building, without monetary consideration, if it were used for historic purposes. In support of this, the City proposed to use the building as a city museum with ongoing exhibits. It was also proposed that the Cuero Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture office be relocated to the building thus assuring that the building would be open regularly. The remaining rooms would be used as the museum and would be named the Cuero Heritage Museum. This building is listed in the National Historic Register.
DeWitt County Museum
The old F. W. Bates - H. D. Sheppard home, which has been designated by the DeWitt County Commissioners Court as the DeWitt County Historical Museum, was erected by the late F. W. Bates in October-November 1886. The land was purchased from the Cuero Land and Immigration Company.
Mr. Bates' wife was the former Elizabeth Sheppard of Indianola, Texas, and her two brothers, Joseph and Henry Sheppard, left homeless and motherless by the great hurricane of August 20, 1886, assisted in construction of the Bates home. Further, together with Mr. Bates, the two Sheppard boys returned to Indianola, collected lumber from the remains of the Sheppard home, and brought the lumber to Cuero, where it was incorporated into the Bates home. Other material for the house was purchased from H. J. Huck and Co. in the amount of $383.50.
The house was remodeled in 1925 with the addition of an upstairs bedroom and two indoor bathrooms. The present kitchen was also added at that time. Prior to 1925, the single bathroom had been situated in a separate building connected by an extension of the open porch to the main house. One chimney served the kitchen cook stove, the coal stove in the dining room, and the wood stove in an upstairs bedroom. The rest of the rooms, including the living room and other bedrooms, were unheated. The house became a County Museum in 1973.
Outbuildings included a large barn on the lots where the former Stratton Hospital now stands, a three-room storage house, and a large chicken coop where the poultry for Sunday family dinners was kept. These outbuildings were removed in 1951. A one-car garage was added in late 1920 and has since been removed. The house was sold by the family in 1968. An authentic log cabin ca. 1865 was placed on the Museum gorunds in 1968.
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
For more information, please call 361-275-6322
515 North Esplanade Street
In 1845, German immigrant, Dr. Joseph M. Reuss established a drug store under his name at the old seaport of Indianola. In 1872, learning the railroad would be built in Cuero, he opened a branch store in this city with his eldest son, Dr. August J. Reuss as operator. Following the 1875 hurricane, Dr. J.M. Reuss moved what was left of Indianola store and medical practice to Cuero and consolidated his business. He lived in Cuero until his death in 1908.
J.M. Reuss & Son Drug Store operated in the same building on Main Street in Cuero for 99 years. In 1971 Mr. Joe B. Reuss, great-grandson of Dr. J.M. Reuss moved the business to its present location at 515 N. Esplanade Street in Cuero. To preserve the many pieces of pharmacy memorabilia, a museum was incorporated into the new pharmacy's format.
The Pharmacy Museum is open during regular business hours; Monday through Saturday, 8:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
(361) 275-3411 or (800) 444-3761
More information can be found on the website www.reusspharmacy.com