Monday, March 12, 2012

Long-held dreams of a Kerr County museum

For some time there has been talk of a Kerr County Museum.
Lately I've heard of a new effort to pull together historic items into one place, again in an attempt to have a museum that tells our community's story.
But really such talk has been going on for a very, very long time.
Until recently, the Hill Country Preservation Society helped fill the role as the community's museum, and had for many years, under the leadership of the late Josephine "Dodo" Parker. Since the Charles Schreiner home was recently acquired by Schreiner University, many are wondering (including some at the university) what role the Captain's home will play in telling the history of this place.
But hopes for a community museum predate even the Hill Country Preservation Society.
J. J. Starkey, who was editor and publisher of this newspaper, also pushed for the creation of a Kerr County Museum, and organized the collection of items to display. I find, in looking through old issues of the "Kerrville Times" many pleas by Mr. Starkey for items for the proposed museum, from the early 1930s through the early 1940s.
Mr. Starkey's father had been Kerr County's "Chief Justice," or county judge, during the Civil War; J. J. Starkey was born here in 1870. I'd consider both generations Kerr County pioneers.
In many newspaper issues he noted what had been donated to the "museum collection" and by whom. In December 1935 he reported a place had been found for the collection in the home of Bert C. Parsons. "Mr. and Mrs. Parsons are on the premises practically all of the time," Starkey wrote, "and articles brought in will be as well safe-guarded as in any museum."
I find it personally interesting that the Parson's home was probably near where our print shop sits today. I'm pretty sure Parson's Hall was next door to us, in the parking lot we own between the print shop and Grape Juice.
All of those collected items were once so close by!
In the autumn of 1932, the "Kerr County Pioneers Association" held a meeting and discussed a museum. Mrs. R. A. Franklin, who had led the students in her classes to form a history club, suggested the downtown area was ideal for such a museum. "Plans for acquiring a building for the collection of old-time relics," was being considered, according to the group's president, J. J. Starkey.
Here's the thing: I have no idea what happened to the items the group collected and displayed.
Mrs. R. A. Franklin, who was a teacher at Kerrville's junior high school in the early 1930s, organized the collection of various historical items into a "Junior High Museum;" the collection included items from the Texas Revolution and an extensive arrowhead collection. I've heard about the items the students collected for many years, mainly from folks who were students in Mrs. Franklin's classes.  No one knows what happened to the items the students collected.
In the early 1930s the historical groups had an enormous advantage over those today who are interested in the area's history: they were closer to the beginning of our community.
Living among them were people who had actually been Kerr County pioneers.
Most of the avid collectors of "old-time relics" today have many items from recent decades. Aside from worked flint, my own collection extends back to a very few items from about 1880, but Kerr relics before 1900 are very rare even in my collection.
I applaud those who are now hoping to organize a museum. One is definitely needed here. I only hope they can find a way to safeguard the items donated and loaned to such a museum; precious items loaned in years past somehow vanished, along with those who hoped to preserve them.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville item who collects Kerr County historical items, hoping someday to find a permanent home for them. Ms. Carolyn definitely does not want them in her house. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times March 10, 2012

1 comment:

  1. A museum in downtown Kerrville is a wonderful idea.

    The Schreiner home would be perfect.

    I hope it happens.


Please remember this is a rated "family" blog. Anything worse than a "PG" rated comment will not be posted. Grandmas and their grandkids read this, so please, be considerate.



Related Posts with Thumbnails