True Western Towns
Our third annual award for Western towns that are the benchmark for preserving history.
- Written by TW Editors
- Published January 01, 2008
Towns You Should Know
A real Wild West town now preserved as a historic district. You can stay at the Occidental Hotel, which hosted Butch and Sundance, Calamity Jane and President Teddy Roosevelt.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation named this central Washington town as one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 2007—the downtown historic district looks pretty much the same as it did in the early 1890s.
EL PASO, TX
A unique place where Hispanic and American cultures have mingled for 150-plus years. Gunfighters John Wesley Hardin and John Selman settled down here—in Concordia Cemetery, still one of the area’s top attractions.
FORT SMITH, AR
A place synonymous with rope justice, Fort Smith is a living representation of 19th-century army life and law enforcement. The Hanging Judge still lurks....
Montana’s capital city began honoring its history pretty much from day one—the state historical society museum dates back to 1865, just a year after gold hunters founded the town.
The famed mining camp is now a national historic district, with more than 70 blocks of preserved and renovated buildings dating back to the heydays of the 1880s.
The center of Billy the Kid Country hasn’t changed much since the Kid bit the dust in 1881. A walk down Main Street is a real step back in time—and that’s a good thing.
More than five million folks visit Old Sacramento each year, experiencing the Gold Rush days of the 1840s-50s. A major attraction: the Wells Fargo Museum.
SAN ANTONIO, TX
Sure, everybody remembers the Alamo—but San Antone has 22 local historic districts and hundreds of landmark buildings spanning 290 years.
With a heritage going back 6,000 years, this town mixes modern chic with historic buildings, museums and landmarks.
Arguably the most famous town in the Old West. From the Bird Cage Theatre to the Crystal Palace Saloon, the Earps and Clantons knew them just as you can.
VIRGINIA CITY, MT
The legendary vigilantes brought justice in the 1860s. More recently, private citizens did justice to their history by restoring many of the buildings of that time.
VIRGINIA CITY, NV
Museums? This Comstock Lode town has got ’em, featuring gambling, prostitution and railroads; all celebrate nearly 150 years of Western history.
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