WILD ANIMALS, DOANS CROSSING, AND SOAPSUDS
Vernon’s Red River Valley Museum covers a lot of territory. Let’s start with the William A. Bond Trophy and Game Room where the art of taxidermy and Mr. Bond’s enthusiasm for international wild game hunting during the mid-20th century resulted in a collection of almost 140 mounted specimens on display. The collection even includes a polar bear, a rhino, and a Saiga antelope, species you may only see in Bond’s Trophy room due to their vulnerable, threatened and endangered status today. Let’s move on to the Berry History and Science Room where you’ll learn all about nearby Doan’s Crossing, one of the most important Red River crossings for thousands of livestock traveling the Great Western Cattle Trail during the late 1800s. Then remain in the late 19th century and visit the Early Vernon History Room where you’ll discover what life was like across the northwestern region of Texas in the early days of the town. Follow with the Waggoner Room and learn about Vernon’s early ranching days. W. T. Waggoner once owned a ranching empire that covered over 500,000 acres of Texas grasslands and created a fortune that afforded his granddaughter, the poetically-named Electra, an indulgence in art. Sculptor Electra Waggoner Biggs is best known for her large-than-life sized bronze sculpture of Will Rogers on his horse Soapsuds. The work has been reproduced through the years for three separate permanent locations – one in Oklahoma, one on the campus of Texas Tech University, and one in the sculpture garden of the Anatole Hotel in Dallas. The museum holds the largest known collection of Electra’s artwork where it can be seen on display in the Waggoner Room.