Texas Tropical Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Cotulla: Ben's Texas Hat Museum


Located in the historic downtown district of Cotulla, Ben’s Western Wear has been outfitting Texans with authentic western apparel for over half a century. Established in 1946 by local rancher Ben Ludeman, Ben’s specializes in ranch wear, clothes made for working cattle and riding horses, as well as for fashion and pleasure. Ben’s offerings also include hats. In fact, Ben’s features an entire museum of hats. The museum collection consists of hundreds of old hats once belonging to area ranchers, cowboys and vaqueros. Established by the late Stewart Martin, Ludeman’s nephew who bought the shop in the 1980s, Ben’s Hat Museum began with a single, worn-out hat hung on the shop wall. Today, there are hundreds. Why hats? “The hat tells what a man did,” says Martin’s wife, Jill Martin, in a 2014 interview. “They sweated in them, worked in them, lived in them. At one time, everyone wore hats; they are a part of history.”


  • 109 North Front Street
  • Cotulla, Texas
  • 78041


Hours & Fees

  • Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

  • Free