On the outskirts of the Metroplex, Weatherford is a peaceful town that is deep in history. Stepping back in time to 1856, Weatherford was selected to be the county seat of the newly formed Parker County. A great deal of activity took place in the town square.
Much of the downtown area buildings were built in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The first courthouse was erected on the north side of the square in 1856. There have been three other courthouses since that date, with the last and present structure being built in 1884. The courthouse underwent massive renovations in 2003 back to its original splendor. Besides the historical structures downtown, there are numerous historical homes. Each December there is a Candlelight Tour of Homes that showcases some of these homes.
The Old City Greenwood Cemetery is the final resting place of many well-known characters in history. In October, the Parker County Heritage Society hosts the Talking Tombstone Tour. It is a great way to learn the history of those buried there.
First Monday Trade Days began when farmers gathered on the square to sell their wares. Later this moved down to Santa Fe Drive where First Monday Grounds are at the present.
The Weatherford Farmers’ Market is located a few blocks from the square. The original building was actually built in 1932 and used as a canning facility prior to becoming a farmers’ market. One cannot only purchase fruits and vegetables but also plants and other items for your home.
Other venues of beautiful plants and trees are the gardens in Parker County. First is Chandor Gardens on West Lee. Chandor Gardens was originally called “White Shadows” by Douglas Chandor. Chandor was an English portrait artist. The gardens were opened to the public following his death in 1953. The City of Weatherford purchased the gardens in 2002. The second garden is on the western edge of Parker County, Clark Gardens. Clark Gardens is owned by the Clark family and covers approximately 33 acres. What was once mesquite-covered land has now been transformed into a botanical masterpiece of native Texas and Texas adaptable plants. Also part of the gardens are several different G-Scale model garden trains that replicate the historic rail system that ran through the area. Throughout the year, visitors enjoy a variety of special garden events.
A more serene adventure can be found at the museums. Museum of the Americas is owned and operated by Harold & Elizabeth Lawrence. It is a showcase of artifacts from various cultures of Native Americans, Mexico and Latin America. Admission is free. The Doss Heritage & Culture Center has been in operation for just over three years. There is a permanent display of Mary Martin memorabilia and the frontier cattle drives of the area in this beautiful facility. The rotating gallery has amazing displays that change periodically throughout the year. The Doss Heritage & Culture Museum also offers wonderful meeting facilities. A museum unto itself is the Texas Pythian Home, a children’s home owned by the Knights of Pythias of Texas. The home first began operation March 1, 1909. It is still in operation today caring for children that are not able to live with their families. There is a museum upstairs in the “Castle on the Hill.”
For the avid fun-seeking individual, Weatherford has many parks. The Parks Division is responsible for the design, construction, renovation and maintenance of over 400 acres of parkland, including nine parks. Features include disc golf, a skate park, a water park, a fishing pier, walking trails, athletic fields and courts, etc. Weatherford also has a lake. The marina offers an area for swimming, boating and even fishing.
Best known for the best festival in Texas, the Parker County Peach Festival is the second Saturday in July. This is an arts & crafts festival with over 200 vendors, including food vendors. You can find all types of items using peaches: ice cream, cobblers, juleps, candy, etc. The festival is held on the western side of the downtown square from 8:00-5:00. Another event held on the downtown square is Christmas on the Square, the first Saturday of December. This draws a large crowd to the area with all types of vendors. It begins with the Christmas parade that morning.
Another attraction to Parker County is with the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo. The rodeo is held the third week of June every year. It is also the week that local FFA & 4H students participate in the local Stock Show with the sale being that Saturday of the rodeo. The rodeo begins with a parade on Wednesday at 5:00 and the rodeo beginning at 7:30 p.m. Following the rodeo, country music and dancing are the entertainment of the night.