This morning Mary Anne and I visited the Polk County Memorial Museum. I had an appointment with Jack Bobinger to show him my family heirlooms, which I wanted to give to the museum. He was very happy to receive them.
The items were some of my mother’s and grandmother’s things, which had been stored for years in a cubby-hole in my RV where no one (including me) could enjoy them. Since neither my brother nor I have any children, there is no one to pass them down to. They probably would have ended up at a thrift shop or who knows where else. Now they can be enjoyed by many others who will be visiting the museum. Mr. Bobinger especially liked my grandmother’s slate that she had used as a little school girl. I hope to get photos of the items after they are on display.
The history of the museum began in the early 1960's when Governor John Connally issued a proclamation to each county in Texas to begin to "Record, Appreciate, Mark and Preserve Texas History." This program, referred to as RAMPS, was seeking to enhance the Texas economy with a tourist trade stimulated by history seeking travelers.
In 1996 Sechrest Bergman Webster donated her home to the Polk County Heritage Society for a museum. The house was built in 1960 of brick from the Ursuline Academy in Galveston. The beautiful gardens were designed by landscape architect Pat Fleming. The museum is the responsibility of the Polk County Historical Commission, appointed by the Polk County Commissioner's Court.
After gathering information from me, Mr. Bobinger took us on a tour of the galleries. He even played a few notes on the piano and organ. They both sounded remarkably good. He said that he plays them regularly to make sure they will remain in good working order.
Adjoining the museum grounds is W. T. Carter & Bro. Engine No. 5, a coal burning steam engine. Built in 1911 by Philadelphia's Baldwin Locomotive Works, this locomotive was first used to transport timber in Florida. In the 1920's it was purchased for use in Texas' logging industry by the Angelina County-based Carter-Kelley Lumber Company. The locomotive traveled between Angelina and Polk County mill towns on Houston, East and West Texas railway tracks picking up logs and finished lumber that frequently had been hauled from local cutting areas by oxen. It was in use until 1952.
Next to the locomotive is the Jonas Davis Log Cabin. Jonas Davis was one of the last Pakana Muskogee Indians to reside in Polk County. Since it was almost lunch time, we didn’t visit the cabin but we placed it on our TO DO list for later.