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Yoakum's Designing Women: Double D Ranch

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Downtown Yoakum recently received a face-lift, which includes a sweeping archway over West Grand Avenue.
“Whoa! Life’s Too Short. Relax… Country Living,” proclaims a billboard welcoming visitors to Yoakum. Once a gathering spot for cattle driven up the Chisholm Trail, this small southeast Texas town bills itself as the world’s leather capital. In addition to Double D Ranch, leather-related businesses include Tandy Brands Accessories, Inc., Circle Y Saddles, Tex Tan Leather Company, and several other saddle and leather shops.

Double D Ranch president Margie McMullen has designs not only on helping her company grow, but also on helping to revitalize downtown Yoakum. As president of Yoakum’s Economic Development Corporation for the past eight years and a member of the city council for four, she has been a driving force behind Yoakum’s ongoing downtown renaissance. The first phase—improving historic Pershing Square and West Grand Avenue with new sidewalks, retro-looking streetlights, trees, and signage—was completed last year.

Margie also pushed to develop Chisholm Trail Park, at the intersection of West Gonzales Street and US 77A. The project was funded by TxDOT and private donors, including Double D Ranch. Here, you can stroll among larger-than-life topiaries depicting three Longhorn cattle accompanied by a horse and rider and three cowdogs. Stone benches and native plants also adorn the park.

Other attractions include the Yoakum Heritage Museum, housed in a historic home at 312 Simpson Street. Be sure to visit the “Leather Room,” where you can learn more about the local leather industry. The museum also displays artifacts from Yoakum’s railroad-boomtown days.

On the second Tuesday of each month, you can tap your feet to more than two hours of country music at the Country Music U.S.A. show, which is held in the Yoakum Community Center. A home-style meal is available before the show.

Yoakum also holds several annual events that celebrate the area’s history, including the Tom Tom Festival in June (see below), A Night in Old Pearl City in November, and Land of Leather Days in February.

79th Annual Tom Tom Festival

One of the oldest festivals in Texas, the Tom Tom Festival honors Yoakum’s tomato-growing heritage and takes place the first weekend in June (June 1-2, 2007). The lineup includes a parade, rodeo, salsa-making contest, barbecue cookoff, carnival, craft booths, children’s games, horseshoe and volleyball tournaments, a car and motorcycle show, live music, and a Dachshund race. For details, contact the Yoakum Area Chamber of Commerce (see below).

Double D Ranch’s apparel, furniture, and home furnishings sell throughout the United States in select department stores, boutiques, and small specialty stores. For a list of stores that carry the brand, call 800/899-3379, or visit www.ddranchwear.com.

The company’s outlet store is at 509 Lott St. in downtown Yoakum. Hours: Mon-Fri 8-5, Sat 10-3. For details, call 361/293-2394, or visit the Web site.

Yoakum

Yoakum is at the intersection of US 77A and Texas 111, about 40 miles northwest of Victoria. Visitor information follows. For details, call the Yoakum Area Chamber of Commerce at 361/293-2309; www.yoakumareachamber.com. Other helpful Web sites include www.cityofyoakum.org and www.yoakumusa.com. The area code is 361.

DiningMi Casa, at 123 W. May St., offers Tex-Mex fare, hamburgers, and more. Call 293-7262.

Locals head to H&H Cafe & Bakery, at 719 Lott St., for barbecued brisket, chicken-fried steak, and specials such as chicken spaghetti and meatloaf. Call 293-3232.

The Green Door, at 213 W. Grand St., offers sandwiches, homemade soups, and a full breakfast menu, including omelettes. Call 293-3450.

LodgingThe Grand Cottage is at 506 W. Grand Ave. in downtown Yoakum, near the historic district. Call 293-8492; www.thegrandcottage.com.

Stay in your choice of 2 restored, 2-story homes dating to the early 1900s at Our Guest House (406 E. Hugo St.) and Our Guest House, Too (408 E. Hugo St.). Call 800/762-1475; www.ourguesthouse.com.

Read 871 times Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 13:06

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