Since its invention in 1867, barrbed wire changed the West forever. No one can dispute that fact, especially once they've seen the displays on hand at the Devil's Rope Museum in McLean, Texas.
Exhibiting nearly 700 patents and 600 different samples of barbed wire, the museum has been attracting drivers of Route 66 since 1991.
Delbert Trew is one of the men who helped found the museum and says that he and his fellow barbed wire enthusiasts were inspired by a barbed wire museum in Lacrosse, Kan. 'We wanted to build a museum a little further south, with a little more room,' he says. They found that location in an empty factory in McLean.
In front of the museum stands the 'Tribute to Barbed Wire' monument - two gigantic balls of barbed wire placed atop limestone posts. While the museum's founders are obviously fans of the product, they're also quite aware of the ambivalence that others have felt about it. Their literature about the monument reads: 'We believe it is the only monument-in the world dedicated to barbed wire whose existence is both absolutely beneficial to progress, at times cruel beyond comprehension, caused drastic changes in worldwide warfare, and yet protects our lives twenty-four hours each day.'
For those who can't get 'on the road' right away, The Devil's Rope Museum also maintains a very informative and interesting website: www.barbedwiremuseum.com. Among the features of the site is a special library section with a recommended reading list of books telling the details of barbed wire history. Other sites contain information on how to identify barbed wire, where it can be purchased, and what is going on today in the barbed wire collecting hobby. A new wire collection appraisal service is now offered online to those needing appraisals for tax, estate, or insurance purposes.
You can find the museum in McLean, Texas, 75 miles east of Amarillo, on I-40 & Old Route 66. Take Exits 141, 142, & 143 to 'The Heart Of Old Route 66' at 100 Kingsley Street. It's open from 10 a.m.. to 4 p.m.. Tuesday through Saturday. Winter hours may vary because of inclement weather. For more information and requests for groups and tours, call (806)779-2225, or E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to Box 290, McLean, TX 79057.