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Robert E. Howard Home.

Museum to the Creator of Conan the Barbarian

Field review by the editors.

Cross Plains, Texas

Mention "Conan the Barbarian" and most people think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. They don't think of Robert E. Howard, "The Father of Sword and Sorcery," who wrote the Conan stories in the early 1930s. While we applaud the efforts of his hometown historical society to preserve his memory, they didn't think much about Howard, either, until 50 years after he was dead -- after the Schwarzenegger movie came out. Consequently, there isn't much here to see.

Howard lived in this little house, with his parents, typing in his tiny room for 17 years until he killed himself in the driveway, at age 30, in 1936. He used to walk around town wearing a sombrero with dangling ball tassels to prove that he was crazy. He would pound out stories on his Underwood typewriter late at night, reading out loud as he did so, which constantly irritated the people who lived next door (Their house was later destroyed by a tornado.)

What REH's bedroom might have looked like.

The little Howard house is crowded with Depression-era furniture, although none of it is significant. There's a bust of Cleopatra that Robert bought in New Orleans when he was 13. And there's an Underwood typewriter -- but it isn't Robert's typewriter. That typewriter is owned by a guy in California. The guy sent pictures of it to the museum, which has dutifully hung them on the wall.

There's some merchandise for sale here -- Barbarian t-shirts, a couple of books -- to raise funds to keep the little museum going.

In December 2005, Cross Plains took a beating from a real barbarian: Mother Nature. Over a hundred homes and the Methodist church were destroyed in a wildfire. The Robert E. Howard house, however, escaped -- just as it escaped that next-door tornado. Is Howard pulling strings from beyond the grave? Is he engineering the destruction of everything in town except his museum?

Museum to the Creator of Conan the Barbarian

Robert E. Howard Museum

625 W. Hwy. 36, Cross Plains, TX
The Robert E. Howard Museum, West edge of town on Hwy 36 (Fifth St.), south side.
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