The Historic Pine Street Shootout of 1884 Is Back in Abilene
Though there have been several wild-west shootouts throughout the rich history of the Key City, the most famous one in Abilene took place back in 1884. That event involved a wealthy gambler/businessman named Zeno Hemphill, a Texas Ranger, and a Taylor County Deputy Sheriff. For the record, this is not a made-up story, but actual history being recreated.
Known as the "Pine Street Shootout", the incident took place just feet away from where the shootout is currently being re-enacted at Frontier Texas. At one time in Abilene's history, there was a real-life "Cattle Exchange Saloon" at the corner of Pine and North First Street, where a parking lot now sits.
In that very saloon, there was a lot of drinking, carousing, and gambling, even though gambling was against the law. For the most part, cowboys of the time were a rough bunch and not about to be told what they could and could not do, at least not by any lawman. As the story goes, according to the history books:
[Taylor County Deputy Sheriff] Walter Collins was shot and killed on January 8, 1884, in the Pine Street Shootout. He and his brother, City Alderman (aka Mayor/City Councilman) and former Texas Ranger Frank Collins, were attempting to stop illegal gambling in the Cattle Exchange Saloon. An argument ensued and the owner [of the saloon] was not going to be told what to do. The rest is history. A Texas Ranger and Deputy were both shot on the streets of Abilene.
Source: Frontier Texas, see the above Video.
If you're anything like me, you are going to want to catch the action complete with a real gunfight including loud western six-shooters. Frontier Texas will host its annual series of Saturday Shootout re-enactments on May 20, May 27, June 3, June 17, June 24, and July 1. Get there early so you don’t miss the first draw.
Frontier Texas is an interactive museum experience, where history comes to life. I'll see you there, at 625 North First Street in downtown Abilene. Call (325) 437-2800 or visit www.frontiertexas.com for tickets or more information.