The first to begin the dream of taming the Wild Horse Desert was Capt. Richard King.

He established the famous King Ranch on 825,000 acres, along Santa Gertrudis Creek, in 1853. His widow Henrietta continued his dream, eventually founding the town of Kingsville in 1904. The Kinenos, descendants of those early Texas cowboys at the King Ranch, still walk the streets of downtown today.

What’s the latest gossip? A new BBQ place, the Smokin’ Rooster (200 E. Yoakum), opened today in a restored downtown building built in 1924 by Harry Collins.

Good Cowboy Bar: The Office  (1210 S. 6th Street), an old yellow building with no sign, just a lot of pickups parked outside in late afternoon, after siesta.

Favorite Local Cuisine: El Dorado (704 N. 14th St), for Mexican food, especially Camarones al mojo de ajo (Shrimp with garlic sauce).

Best Western Art Gallery: Bryant Gallery (302 E Kleberg Ave.), which features unique works by Texas artists.

Best Western Bookstore: King Ranch Museum (405 N. 6th St.) offers books on the local history of ranches and the people who developed them.

Best Spot to View Wildlife: King Ranch Wildlife Tour. Drive west on Hwy. 141 to U.S. 281 after September for a good display of deer, hawks and other birds.

Old West Historic Sites: King Ranch Museum, originally built to generate electricity and make ice for trains hauling fresh vegetables. The restored Kingsville Railroad Depot (104 Kleberg Ave.), built in 1904, now a museum with interesting rail artifacts on exhibit.

Do-not-miss Attraction: King Ranch Tour, especially during April when the burros are used to train the new ponies to halter.

Popular Local Event: Ranch Hand Breakfast at King Ranch. The cowboy breakfast is held outdoors, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Average House Cost: $103,000.

Average Temperature: High 60s to 80s in winter and spring; High 80s to 90s in summer and fall.

Best-Kept Secret: Ceasar Kleberg Wildlife Research Center (700 University Blvd.) at Texas A&M Kingsville University.

Special thanks to Anse Windham, Kingsville’s train builder and driver, and retired full-time volunteer, for sharing his love of the town with us.

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