The formal opening of Kimble County Historical Museum on Saturday afternoon was an overwhelming success when a capacity crowd attended the festive celebration hosted by the Kimble County Historical Commission. The facility – of the people, by the people, and for the people – received many accolades from the multitude of visitors during the event. Charles Hagood, KCHC co-chairman, was master-of-ceremonies and welcomed the enthusiastic crowd who was representative of locales near and far. He introduced several persons who had been instrumental with the renovation and reconstruction project. Ronnie Carpenter, general contractor for the museum, was recognized, as well as Rudy Rocha, Fabrications- 4 designer of the displays in the Interpretive wing. The emcee thanked Molly Robinson for her encouragement and introduced David Murrah of Rockport. Others recognized for hard work were Hector Sepeda, Hector Menchaca and Raymond Guardiola.
Out-of-state visitors traveled from Belvidere, New Jersey; Columbia, Missouri; Menifee, California; and Colorado. Texas locales represented were Abilene, Austin, Buchanan Dam, Dale, Denver City, Dripping Springs, Frisco, Fredericksburg, Georgetown, Hext, Ingram, Kerrville, Llano, London, Mason, Mountain Home, Odessa, Rocksprings, Roosevelt, San Antonio, San Angelo, Sonora, Sugarland, Junction and possibly other locations. Space will not allow mention of the names of attendees who made the occasion a memorable time in Junction.
The ribbon-cutting at the expansive Interpretive Wing was conducted by Miss Kimble County, Madison Phillips, Tania Manzanares and Jewel Schoppe. Assisting was Connie Booth, Executive Director of the Chamber (and ex-official KCHC member), as well as two Chamber board members, Andrew Heap and Hal Rose.
The interpretative portion of the facility is a virtual stroll through the history of the county, from the days of prehistoric life to the outlaw area, and on to the advent of early settlers, and to the present-day. One special feature is a room dedicated to the Indian arrow-point collection of the late Charles Simon. Another area is devoted to Hispanic history, and nearby is a collection of early ranching and farming tools. The medical collection is adjacent to the restored hospital room. Of utmost importance is the portrayal of life in the early days of our county. As one viewer remarked, “I cannot imagine the time spent in preparing for Saturday, and I must come back to spend more time looking at all the items in detail.”
The mini-theatre, complete with seating furnished with donated pews from the Northside Church of Christ, is another area of interest.
In another part of the museum, the north wing contains many artifacts and displays pertinent to the area. Military memorabilia and pictures are displayed throughout the facility, and there are trophies from the local school.
The Frederica Burt Wyatt expanding genealogical dual-room area is of particular interest to researchers of local families and their history. Attractions in the area include the Jack Moss painting of the Isaac Kountz killing by Indians and a massive mohair flag donated by Bill and Judy Cardwell.
The Governor Coke R. Stevenson room, now available for viewing, will be formally dedicated at a later date.
KCHC members who attended the open house were Frederica Wyatt, co-chair; Jo Ella Bolt, Jay and Elaine Carpenter, Kandy Dick, Teena Hagood, Janet Jones, Greer Kothmann, Billie Meckley, Billie Noguess, Cheryl Simon, Rob Roy Spiller, Rick Wilson. Randi Schulze, who assisted with the project, could not attend. Other ex-officio members on hand were County Judge Delbert Roberts and Mayor Russell Hammonds. Volunteer docents on duty during the momentous occasion included Jeneva Bryant, Diann Crenwelge, Leola Dunbar, Norene Herbst, Nancy Nunns, Kay and Frank Randolph and Betty and Dennis Smith.
The museum has evolved into a reality due to the encouragement, monetary assistance and untold hours of hard work by many persons. Kimble County can be proud of this awesome addition to its outstanding tourist attractions, and we thank them from the depths of our hearts!
For the present time, weekday hours will include Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 5:30 o’clock. For the present time and weekend hours will be by appointment. I will personally be available on most Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.
We hope to see you along the way.