Sunday, November 5, 2017

An exhibit of photographs from my collection of historical Kerrville and Kerr County photographs

Joe Herring III installing historical images at Pint and Plow
My son Joe III helping to hang a new exhibit of historical
Kerrville and Kerr County photos, on display now
at Pint & Plow, in their coffee shop, 332 Clay Street, Kerrville.
For some time there has been talk of a Kerr County Museum.
Lately I've been involved in an effort to pull together historic items into one place, again in an attempt to have a museum that tells our community's story. The path ahead seems very steep to get a history museum for our community. The three biggest problems are money, money, and money. Funding is also an issue.
However, for the past five years or so, I've been trying some experiments.
Did you know we have a virtual Kerr County museum that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
At Starbucks, 2012
As of last Thursday, it's had over 570,000 visits since it started, with many visitors stopping by hundreds of times.
That online museum has more than a thousand photographs and articles about our community. I know, because I put every single one of them there.
Visiting this virtual museum is free. You can copy images from its pages. It has a search box, so you can look for information that interests you, from the tunnels of Captain Schreiner to the battle sword found in a field near Mountain Home.
To visit, just go to www. It has a catchy name, don't you think?
Other sites offering local history are, by Deborah Gaudier, who excels at research. I like, too. My friend Lanza Teague has some great articles and photos at
At Grape Juice, 2012
And did you know we've had several "pop up" history museums in our community, including one that was installed this week?
From time to time folks around town are generous and loan me space in their businesses to display items and photographs from our community's past. These have been displayed in the past at the Museum of Western Art, Starbucks (twice), Hastings, Grape Juice, and the Kerr County Arts and Cultural Center (twice).
Last Tuesday my son and I installed an exhibit of more than 50 items at Pint & Plow's coffee shop, located in the old Edward Dietert home at 332 Clay Street in beautiful downtown Kerrville. I'm thankful to the Walther family for their generosity in sharing the walls of their historic property with all of us.
Again, visiting this pop up museum is free, but while you're there, why not buy a cup of their delicious coffee? Tell 'em Joe sent you.
Talk of a local history museum has been going on for a very long time.
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, 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.
At the Kerr Arts and Cultural
Center, 2012
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." The Parsons lived near where our print shop stands today; in fact, the office portion of our print shop was built by the Parson family around 80 years ago.
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.
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.
At the Museum of Western Art, 2016
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 such a museum is built, let's try a few experiments to preserve our community's history.
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 the items in her house. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times November 4, 2017.

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