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Limestone County makes history with tourism gamble.

Limestone County makes history with tourism gamble.
Posted at 11:53 PM, Oct 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-13 00:53:39-04

GROESBECK, TX — For the first time ever, a bus load of tourists got chauffeured to important places in Limestone County history on a cool Saturday in mid-October.

People here, hope their colorful and rich story, will help them grab a share of a growing tourist business in Central Texas.

Larry Smith, who guides Limestone County Tourism efforts, hopes people get used to the sight.

"Its the first, and we hope, of many," he said.

He believes the County's colorful history makes it perfect for tourism, the story of how native Americans kidnapped a young girl, who later becomes the last Chief of the Comanche.

Smith hopes tour operators from the surrounding cities of Waco, Dallas and Houston will bring a steady stream of visitors and money here.

"There's some risk to putting on the bus tours, but if we turn it over to the pros, then they'll just call us and say when they want to come and we'll put it together for 'em," he explained.

At the same time, Smith brought a celebrity to live in Limestone. The lauded longhorn, "Valentino".

"He belongs to my son and was a member of the Fort Worth herd for 8 years, the herd that they drive up and down Exchange Avenue," said Smith.

You'll find him for now, at Smith's ranch. with the rest of his herd.

And with all the movement in tourism in Limestone County, the board of the historical museum recently voted to investigate the possibility of moving the museum to a site on Highway 14 between Groesbeck and Mexia at the entrance to Old Fort Parker.

Museum leaders want to put themselves in the center of the growing tourism business and draw from a wider area. Do do that, they'll eventually move out of downtown Groesbeck.

"We wanted a more central location and we want the entire county involved, it shouldn't be hidden in one town," he said.

So, as you can tell, a lot rides on the success of the bus tour.

Proving itself as an interesting tourist draw will make money for tour operators, but more important, it'll put money in Limestone County Pockets, eventually.

"You have to build to it. It doesn't just happen overnight," Smith cautioned.

Smith should know, he became the first cattle rancher in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to open his ranch to tourists. He says staying the course, and putting that best foot forward will bring benefits to businesses from gas stations to grocery stores throughout the county.