Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Shackelford County, Texas
Albany | Clear Fork | Flats | Fort Davis | Fort Griffin

Old Jail Art Museum Picture
Old Jail Art Museum

Aztec Theater Picture
Aztec Theater

A jewel of a town square and art museum at the old jail. Accessible collection of authentic pioneer dwellings, tools and equipment including processing pots from the old Ledbetter's Salt Works.

Points of Interest

Shackelford County Court House, built in 1883-84

The Square

Old Jail Art Center, on Second Street one block east of the courthouse, permanent exhibits include works of Giacomo Manzu, John Marin, Charles Umlauf, Louise Nevelson, Henry Moore, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, and examples of Chinese art from the Han, Wei, Sui, Tang and Ming Dynasties. Housed in a restored county jail (c. 1878). Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10-5, Sunday fro 2-5.

Ledbetter Picket House, 700 Railroad Street, restored frontier dog-run cabin built of slender upright poles (pickets), with rustic period furnishings. Open daily from 8-5.

Matthews Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1898 and housing one of the finest pipe organs in West Texas.

Old MKT Depot, Central and Main Streets, seves as chamber of commerce office, community center and exhibit area for local handicrats. Open weekdays.

Georgia Monument, at South Main and South First Streets, erected in 1976 to honor the Georgia Battalion that volunteered in Texas's war for independence in 1836. Most were killed in the Goliad massacre.

Annual Events

April: 3rd Saturday, Polo on the Prairie; Discover Albany Day.
June: the last two weekends, Fort Griffin Fandangle, presented by more than 200 townfolk, in an outdoor musical pageant depicting area history. The production is noted for its live longhorn herd on stage, a steam train, a calliope, an overland stage and team of mules, and an opening parade of flag-bearing riders on horseback.
September: 3rd Saturday, City-wide garage sale
October: 3rd Saturday, Cowboy Days
November: Matthews Memorial Presbyterian Church Bazaar; Holiday Preview
December: Albany Nativity, in even years


Albany Motor Inn, 915-762-2451
Ann's (B&B), 915-762-2451
Foreman's Cottage (B&B), Musselman Ranch, 915-762-2224
Hereford Motel, Hwy 80 W, 915-762-2451
The Lodge, 915-762-3205
Old Nail House Inn (B&B), 915-762-2928
Virginia's (B&B), 915-762-2013


Fort Griffin General Merchandise Restaurant, Hwy 80 W, 915-762-9034
Halberts Country Emporium, 211 S. Main St., 915-762-2977
High Lonesome Cafe, 915-762-2511
Icehouse, 915-762-3287
Lone Star Eatery, 915-762-2932

Specialty Shopping

Albany News, 915-762-2201
Blanton-Caldwell, 915-762-2370
Desperados, 915-762-3033
Erline's, 915-762-3083
Griffin Flat, 915-762-2009
Halbert's Country Emporium, 915-762-2977
Lynch Line, 915-762-2212
Main Street Mercantile, 915-762-3030
Outlaws Trading Post, 915-762-2687
Ranch Rags, 915-762-3000
Tenovus, 915-762-2898
House of Embroidery, 915-762-3073

To read a story about The Jacobs House, the first permanent residential structure in Albany, click here.

Picture of Panoramic View of 1885 Albany
A panoramic view of 1885 Albany
From the book, A Texas Frontier, by Ty Cashion

February 27, 2001

The people of Albany have created a vibrant, optimistic, growing local economy that has discovered one eternal truth: the best way to look forward is to look back on the past, and to focus on what brought human inhabitants here to begin with–in short, to look back to the land. Albany is well-provided for in this regard. Shackelford County is home to several ranches that easily exceed or even double the 20,000-acre mark, and it is the birthplace of a man who grew to typify the best things about the west, a man whose presence still resonates three years after his untimely death at the youth of 98. Spanning the last century, Watt Matthews spoke for the value of persistence, for the value of intelligent and progressive range management, for the value of long-term profit over short-term gain, and for the value of people.

Albany is a charming, charming town, and not in that slicked-over, professionally marketed manner so familiar to anyone who’s been sentenced to do time in Sedona or Jackson Hole. The town storefronts have adopted a common style and design. There was no federal grant, no grass-roots movement to make the town look a certain way, and no complex set of sign ordinances that forced the resistant to comply. People in Albany were simply proud of their town, and reached into their own hip pockets to make that pride a visual, tangible thing.

Tradition and local pride, then, belong deep down into the grain of Albany. Unsurprisingly, the banner that faltered with the passing of Watt Matthews has been picked up and placed at the vanguard, where it properly belongs, by the people who own and operate Stasney’s Cook Ranch. No place in Texas better typifies the progression of virgin range to longhorn range to fenced range to oil fortune and onwards to nature tourism.

Nature tourism? The owners have skillfully pointed the vast ranch onto a course that utilizes considerable natural resources for a multiplicity of purposes. Hunting, of course, is one. The new twist, however, focuses on birding, wildlife watching and photography, as well as mountain biking. With strikingly memorable nesting species such as Painted Bunting and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a host of resident and seasonal sparrows, creeks and stock tanks that provide critical water resources for migrants and insect life, your visit to the ranch will more than satisfy an appetite for proximity with nature.

In addition to wildlife tours that provide numerous encounters with the mammals common to this part of Texas, photographic blinds on the property also let viewers get close enough to obtain full-frame, magazine-quality images of the wildlife. You’ll have the choice of a comfortable stay in the spacious ranch lodge or the choice of a commodious cabin with handicapped access and room interiors.

Bringing nature tourism and its adherents into the strongholds of Texas ranch country is hardly as radical as it sounds. The concerns of responsible hunters–that healthy wildlife requires healthy habitat–works hand in glove with the concerns of nature enthusiasts.

Communities and Related Links

Albany, Texas Web Site

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