Turkey, Texas - Home of Bob Wills

 

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Originally called Turkey Roost for Turkey Creek and the roosting turkeys there, settlers began arriving in the 1890's. The name was shortened to Turkey when the post office (the dug-out of Alfred P. Hall, postmaster) was granted in 1893. The town plat was recorded in 1907 and in 1927, the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad arrived. The town became a shipping point for cattle, grain and cotton. The Turkey Volunteer Fire Department was organized in February of 1928 after two disastrous fires destroyed most of downtown Turkey. Major crops are cotton, watermelons, peanuts, and sweet potatoes.


Turkey is best known as the home of Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing. Wills was a barber in Turkey during the 1920's. In his biography “Hubbin’ It”, Wills said that the lotions and soft-work of barbering kept his fingers pliable for playing the fiddle. It was a trade that many musicians shared, since the day work of barbering never interfered with dances and holiday celebrations. Wills formed the Texas Playboys band and their music introduced a new offshoot of county-western music known as “Western Swing.”

His music continues to influence music today. Bob Wills has been elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


The former Turkey school buildings were purchased by The Bob Wills Foundation and city offices, the library, a senior citizens room, and the Bob Wills Museum are located in the former grade school building. The Foundation has built a Bob Wills monument and Bob Wills Park.

Bob Wills moved to Turkey with his family as a young man, and he never actually attended school in Turkey.


An annual event, on the last Sunday in April, is the Bob Wills Reunion.  The famous musician is recognized with a monument at the west end of Main Street. Although the town's population is small, crowds range from ten to fifteen thousand during the festival.

Visitors come from all over the United States and many foreign countries each year to attend this annual event. It features a parade, BBQ lunch, fiddle contest, free outdoor concert and lots of friends to share it with. There are camp spots for motorhomes.


Bob Wills Museum
This museum honors the man known as the King of Western Swing.  Wills was reared on a farm just north of the town and passed his growing up years here.  Memorabilia of the Texas Playboys (Bob Wills' band) and of Wills' career and its influence on American music is displayed.  One may see fiddles, boots, hats, recordings, photos and hear the music.

Open Monday - Tuesday 9a.m. - 11:30 a.m., and 1 -5 p.m.  
Wednesday - Friday open 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. and 1 - 5 p.m. 
On Sixth and Lyles streets.      Phone (806) 423-1491


Bob Wills Monument



Texas Playboys Concert


Turkey Texas Scenery

 

2007 Church of Western Swing