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Robert E. Howard Days – The Best Two Days in Howard Fandom!

Since 1986, people have been coming from all around the world to Cross Plains, Texas to celebrate the life and writings of acclaimed author Robert E. Howard. Every year on the second weekend of June, Project Pride of Cross Plains, a local civic organization, puts on a gathering known as Robert E. Howard Days. Sponsored by the Robert E. Howard Foundation with help from the members of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association (REHupa), it is a two-day extravaganza of tours, panels, auctions, films, speeches, readings, rare collectibles and – most importantly of all – great Howardian fellowship. For fans of Ol’ Two-Gun Bob Howard, it is the ultimate gathering: part historical symposium, part fan convention, all fun.

Come and walk through the streets where Howard dreamed his fantastic adventures, visit the House and gaze upon the exact spot where he wrote them. View some of the inspiring books he owned which are now on display at the Howard House. Read aloud his poetry from the porch of the house where it was created. Walk in his footsteps around the House and all over the town of Cross Plains. Tour the countryside that Howard called home.

See the original Howard typescripts that he pounded out on an Underwood No. 5 manual typewriter. Listen to scholars and fans detail the history embedded all around the town and walk the same ground in the footsteps of REH. Meet and share fellowship with hundreds of Howard fans from all over the world. Browse the Howard Museum’s impressive Howard Gift Shop and win prized items in the annual Silent Auction. An informal “Swap Meet” is also held, where fans can buy, sell or trade REH items of all sorts. Take a drive south to visit historic Fort McKavett and take your photo in the exact spot Howard did over eighty years ago. And finally, stop at Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood to pay your respects at his grave. There is much to do while honoring the Legacy of REH.


SOME LOGISTICAL INFO ABOUT HOWARD DAYS

GETTING TO CROSS PLAINS

Cross Plains is located almost in the exact center of the state of Texas, about two and a half hours drive west of Dallas, thirty minutes south of I-20, and 35 minutes north of Brownwood. Google Maps and your GPS are your friends!

If you fly in, plan to spend 2-3 hours in your rental car on the highway from Dallas or Austin to Cross Plains. For those of you driving to Howard Days, you can plan your trip accordingly. Again, Google Maps is your friend and nearly everyone has a GPS on their phone nowadays! Hopefully, billions of colorful wildflowers will line the roads as you travel the beautiful Texas countryside.

As for when you should consider coming to and leaving Cross Plains, one recommended plan would be to fly or drive to Texas to arrive on Thursday June 8 and leave for home on Sunday, June 11. A lot of folks come in on Thursday (and some on Wednesday) and congregate at the Pavilion adjacent to the House. There is a Parade for Barbarian Days on Thursday at 6 pm and a lot of folks gather for that and enjoy a dinner at the Cross Plains Senior Center.

Note: the Howard House is open to the public on Thursday from 2 – 4 pm, so you’ll have extra time to enjoy it!

If you do come in early, you’ll be able to tell the Howard fans by all the Hawaiian shirts! C’mon and join the group – all Howard fans are welcome, so stop by, introduce yourselves and join in! We’re very friendly folks!  All are welcome to get a head start on the REH Fellowship! We then congregate at the Pavilion for late night fellowship.

HOWARD’S GRAVESITE IN BROWNWOOD

Regarding Robert E. Howard’s grave site at the Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood: there are no organized tours to the cemetery during Robert E. Howard Days, but folks usually caravan to the site sometime during the course of the weekend. Directions to the grave site are available at the Howard House, as are directions to the grave site of Novalyne Price-Ellis, between Brownwood and Bangs.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS

You have a lot of choices in this regard,unfortunately not in Cross Plains proper. The only motel in Cross Plains is the 36 West (so named because it sits on Highway 36, a mere block away from the Robert E. Howard Museum).
As the 36 West has a limited number of rooms and is almost always sold out for Howard Days, a lot of attendees each year make do with finding a motel at one of the nearby towns, then drive to Cross Plains each morning for the festivities and drive back to their motel in the evening. The drive from nearly all the other towns is about 30-40 minutes one way, and the roads are very straight, scenic and pleasant, especially if those wildflowers are in bloom.


The three nearby towns most popular with Howard fans in need of accommodations are Cisco, Coleman, and Brownwood. Cisco and Coleman are smaller towns, much like Cross Plains, and boast only a modest selection of hotels and rooms. Brownwood is a larger community with many hotels, restaurants and other amenities. The closest “big” city is Abilene, which is less than an hour away and has an even larger selection.

Of course, the internet is your friend at times like these, and a search for hotel space is an easy undertaking.
The following is a partial listing of local hotels.

36 West Motel with RV Park
(254)725-4550
Cross Plains
Highway 36
Located 1 block from the Howard House and Museum. Usually sold out for REH Days, but a phone call might be worth a try.

The Executive Inn (formerly the Enterprise Motel)
(254)442-2100
Cisco
300 East Interstate 20

Best Western
(254)442-3735
Cisco
1898 Highway 206 West 21 miles from Cross Plains.

Holiday Inn Express
(325)641-8085
Brownwood
504 West Commerce Street www.hiexpress.com/brownwood

Best Western
(800) 528-1234
Coleman
1401 Highway 84 Bypass

America’s Best Value (formerly Best Western)
(325)646-3511
Brownwood
410 East Commerce www.americasbestvalueinn.com

Knight’s Inn (formerly Post Oak Inn)
(325)643-5621
Brownwood
606 Early Boulevard 32 miles from Cross Plains.

Gate 1 Inn
(325)643-5463
Brownwood
4410 Highway 377 South 32 miles from Cross Plains.

Days Inn www.daysinnbrownwood.com
(877-500-2600) Brownwood
515 East Commerce 32 miles from Cross Plains.

Lake Brownwood State Park
(512)389-8900
Campsites Available (must make reservations by phone)

Star of Texas Bed & Breakfast
(325)646-4128 www.star-of-texas.com
A deluxe Bed & Breakfast for those who want something special.

Hampton Inn www.hamptoninn.com Brownwood 1-800-Hampton

La Quinta Inn Brownwood (325-641-1713)

La Quinta Inn & Suites Eastland lq6173@laquinta.com

Flagship Inn - NEWLY RENOVATED (325-784-7656) www.flagshipinntx.com


GENERAL BITS OF INFORMATION ABOUT REH DAYS

Robert E. Howard Days is a wonderful yearly get-together of fans, scholars and friends, all gathered to celebrate the life and work of Ol’ Two-Gun Bob Howard, a true Texas and American original. It’s an open-air-under-the-Texas-sun informal meeting of folks from all over the world honoring the Legacy of Robert E. Howard with fellowship and friendly conversation - and you can do so on the very ground where he walked and wrote his wonderful works. The Alla Ray Morris Pavilion is adjacent to the Howard House & Museum, where tables and chairs are set up for all attendees to sit and relax in the shade, chat with your new and old Howard Friends, and enjoy water and soft drinks provided by Project Pride. There is no charge for entrance to the Howard House or relaxing at the Pavilion, but donations are welcome.

WHERE TO EAT IN CROSS PLAINS

The “unofficial” eating and meeting place (especially breakfast) for Howard Days attendees is Jean’s Feed Barn, next door to the 36 West Motel. Additionally, there are a number of great restaurants in Cross Plains, like the Staghorn Cafe and Mexico City and Bubba’s BBQ, recently enlarged with more seating. Nothing quite like authentic Texas chow, and Cross Plains has it! There is also a Subway and Dairy Queen, and a well-stocked grocery store is next to Jean’s Feed Barn. A slew of restaurants in Brownwood covers pretty much all cuisines. Or you would be welcomed to enjoy your own picnic lunch in the yard at the Howard House.

MONEY MATTERS

Everyone who comes to Howard Days (will hopefully) end up returning home with Howard books, magazines, t-shirts, postcards and all kinds of Howard related souvenirs. There are usually some items exclusive to Howard Days (like the Postal Cancellation, books, journals and post cards, t-shirts and an exclusive Poetry book), so it’s always a good idea to bring some extra dough! You not only have the Gift Shop to contend with, but the Silent Auction at the Banquet and the Swap Meet at the Pavilion will provide you with many opportunities for Howard purchases. Additionally, there are restaurants and businesses in Cross Plains that are quite happy to see you and exchange your money for great food or a pair of real Texas cowboy boots - and there’s nothing like some frosty DQ on a hot Texas afternoon! And there are always nifty items and delicious food for sale at Saturday’s Barbarian Festival as well! Get in line behind Mark Finn for the funnel cakes!

Note that the Gift Shop at the Howard House and the Silent Auction at the Banquet do not accept credit or debit cards; they take cash or checks only, so please plan accordingly. ATM’s are available at several locations in town.


A *REVISED* REMINDER ABOUT ALCOHOL IN CROSS PLAINS

As of May 2017, Callahan County is no longer "dry". You may now purchase beer and wine within the city limits. However, there are no taverns or bars or restaurants (public places) where you can consume said beverages. Howard Days attendees wait until the evening fellowship at the Pavilion to break out the beer and now it's all good -as long as you're on private property. Open container laws in Texas still apply, of course - as does drinking responsibly!

SMOKEY THE BEAR SAYS

Additionally, Robert E. Howard’s little town is continually dry in a really bad way: CROSS PLAINS IS FIRE-PRONE. In December of 2005, a horrific fire nearly destroyed the town of Cross Plains, and Texas is perpetually undergoing a drought. PLEASE BE EXTRA CAREFUL WITH LIGHTERS, MATCHES AND ALL SMOKING MATERIALS while visiting in Cross Plains!


THE CROSS PLAINS LIBRARY AND REH

The Cross Plains Public Library has had an impact on the shaping of Robert E. Howard Days ever since the first event in 1986. It is now a place to go for REH research by virtue of the numerous Howard manuscripts housed there, along with the REH collection that is available to all: it has some rare collectibles, including old pulps and obscure fanzines, limited edition books and even original letters from Mrs. Howard in Cross Plains to her son in Brownwood, reminding him to change his socks!

The Library expanded into a new annex in 2009, the stacks got bigger and the programs offered all through the year are now more numerous. They were able to do this through the hard work of the people of Cross Plains and generosity of folks all over the world via their gracious donations, and it has paid off. Cross Plains is proud that the Cross Plains Public Library was selected as one of only three finalists in the Library Journal’s 2010 Best Small Library in America Award.

And in February 2013, The Public Library Association (PLA) announced its 2013 award winners and the Cross Plains Public Library is the winner of the EBSCO Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service Award, which honors a public library that demonstrates excellence in service to a community of 10,000 people or fewer. Each year one library is chosen for its outstanding efforts to offer rich programming and services for its users through resourceful collaboration and creativity.


THE CROSS PLAINS BARBARIAN FESTIVAL

The Barbarian Festival is an annual one-day country fair celebration which the town of Cross Plains hosts on Saturday during Howard Days. There are dozens of booths selling all kinds of neat stuff, lots of food, live music, car & tractor shows, games and rides for kids, a petting zoo, parades, contests, t-shirts and much more. Howard Days attendees (especially non-Howard fans like spouses and kids) will be able to spend time at the festival for a lot of fun things to do.You can find the Barbarian Festival this year in Treadway Park, 3 blocks west of the Howard House on Hwy 36. Check it out at : www.barbarianfestival.net.


CROSS PLAINS CHURCHES

Cross Plains is a community in which faith plays a central role, and
any of the churches would be happy to welcome Robert E. Howard fans who
wish to join them in worship. The following list covers primarily
those churches within or just outside the city limits. The Cross
Plains Review each week includes a church directory (from which the
following information was drawn), and of course others may be located
through inquiries.

Cornerstone Bible Church, 832 Ave E
Sunday Morning Bible Study: 10:00 am / Sunday Morning Worship: 11:00
am / Sunday Evening Worship: 6:00 pm / Wednesday Night Bible Study:
6:00 pm

Cross Plains Church of Christ, 433 N Main (254) 725-6117
Sunday Morning Bible Class: 9:45 am / Sunday Morning Worship 10:45 am
/ Sunday Evening Worship: 6:00 pm / Wednesday Evening Bible Study:
7:00 pm

Cross Plains Cowboy Church, 16075 County Road 459 (254) 725-6446 or
(325) 518-5514
Sunday: 10:30 am / Wednesday Night: 7:00 pm

First Baptist Church, 3rd St NE & N Main (254) 725-7629
Sunday School: 9:30 am / Sunday Morning Worship: 10:45 am / Sunday
Evening Worship: 6:30 pm

First Presbyterian Church, 208 N Ave D
Sunday Service: 9:00 am

First United Methodist Church, 1000 N Main (254) 725-7377
Sunday School: 9:30 am / Sunday Morning Worship 10:45 am

Living Water Ministries Fellowship, 548 Hwy 36 W (254) 725-7418
Sunday: 10:00 am / Wednesday: 7:00 pm

Triple Cross Cowboy Church, 21272 Hwy 279 (just past 279/206 split)
(254) 725-7522 or (325) 370-6680
Sunday: 10:30 am

United Pentecostal Church, 209 SW Hwy 36 (5th St) (254) 725-7140
Sunday School: 9:30 am / Sunday Worship & Word: 6:30 pm / Wednesday
Bible Study: 7:00 pm