Even before Bowie existed, the area that would become Bowie served a very important role. The Chisholm Trail ran through what is now Bowie on its way to the Red River Crossing. The trail started around San Antonio and tracked north through Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and eventually through Bowie.
The trail continued up through Oklahoma City eventually reaching Abilene, Kansas where the cattle were loaded on train cars and shipped to the slaughter houses in Kansas City or Chicago. Van Baize, Branch President of Wellington State Bank in Bowie, describes the Chisholm Trail as another historical piece to an already historical rich town. Baize said, “Between the Bowie knife and the Chisholm Trail, there’s a lot of historical activity through here and we’re trying to depict that with some of the signage around there.”
There are two markers in Bowie showcasing where the trail was located in Pelham Park right by the “Welcome to Bowie” sign on US Highway 81. The next marker is on the north side of town in Meyers Park at the intersection of US Highway 81and West Wise Street. Here the marker is surrounded by life-size cut outs of Texas Longhorns. There’s also a map of the trail detailing its many stops.
The Chisholm Trail markers aren’t the only markers worth checking out in Bowie. There’s also war memorials placed around Pelham Park. The first monument is located between the “Welcome to Bowie” sign and the Bowie Knife. Underneath the American flag, is a small memorial with the insignia of every branch of the military along with a plaque dedicating it to those have served, are serving, and will serve. Towards the back of the park stand three memorials with the names of those who served in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.