Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

April 2, 2013

The Way Things Were

Mineral Wells Index

— By Barbara Manson | Special to the Index

Changing exhibits return to the Palo Pinto County Old Jail Museum again this season. The first opened March 22nd and will be available for viewing through April 27th.

“The Way Things Were: Texas Settlers and Their Buildings, 1860s-1930s,” is an exhibition by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“The Way Things Were” focuses on the family and community life of Texas settlers as reflected in historic buildings. The exhibition looks at early Texas buildings for information about settlers’ visions of community and progress and their accommodation to the physical demands and economic realities of everyday life. Print resources that accompany the exhibit help audiences explore our cultural heritage, modern attitudes toward the past and our duty to future generations.

The museum administration has added additional artifacts and pictorial displays covering several of our local recorded Texas Historic Landmarks.

To begin, the Old Jail Museum is not only a Texas Landmark, but is also nationally registered and recognized as having significant historic value.

Another display recognizes how a Texas historic building can be saved, restored and returned to commercial use. The Weatherford, Mineral Wells & Northwestern Railway Depot at 403 South Oak, Mineral Wells, has been meticulously and beautifully restored. It is now the home of Elliot & Waldron Abstract Company of Palo Pinto Inc.

Another display depicts a recorded Texas Historic Landmark in peril. The Old Mineral Wells High School, formally the Fanin school at 602 West Hubbard, is partially restored and desperately needs to be returned to public use. And still another display covers the unique Hexagon House that has been lost forever. Palo Pinto County and Mineral Wells are replete with historic buildings that depict the Texas Way Things Were.

Don’t forget to take an hour or two to tour the Old Jail Museum’s frontier village complex. Eight historic buildings furnished with period artifacts depict early Palo Pinto's ranch and frontier life. Imagine yourself living in one of those early pioneer cabins, with the few meager possessions you managed to bring west, and surviving off the land. Those pioneer buildings were the only protection against Texas weather, raiding Indians and scavengers. Those buildings depict “The Way Things Were.”

The Old Jail Museum Complex is family friendly. Displays and artifacts can be viewed closely and the visitor can imagine himself in the period settings.

The exhibitions will be available to the public from March 22 to April 27. For more information about viewing hours or to arrange group visits, contact: Ann Reagan at (940) 659-2555.

Humanities Texas develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lectures, oral history projects, teacher institutes, traveling exhibitions and documentary films. For more information, please visit Humanities Texas online at http://www.humanitiestexas.org or call 512.440.1991.