Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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November 20, 2012

Blooming Grove Museum set for 2013 opening

BLOOMING GROVE — Since 2003, the women and men of Blooming Grove have been working to put together a history museum, and it’s finally about to take flight.

The interior of the museum is beautifully detailed, down to an expansive wheelchair accessible bathroom with its own separate access to outside, lovely wooden-backed exhibit shelves and a beautiful foyer in front. The building is on Fordyce in downtown Blooming Grove, almost directly across the street from city hall. It was once the Elkins Cafe, but most recently is has been an insurance office and a domino hall.

The transformation was accomplished by using volunteer laborers and funds raised from the annual Tour of Homes and donations.

“The ex-students of Blooming Grove have a lot of money invested in this building,” said Jean Hinkle, treasurer of the Blooming Grove Historical Society. “We’re especially proud that it’s all paid for.”

The Tour of Homes was suspended last year, but there will be one again this year on Dec. 9 with five historic homes opening their doors to the public. The hope is ticket sales will provide enough money with which to finish the interior of the museum.

The front part of the building is designed for exhibits, with a full kitchen and meeting room in the rear. A small side room will be a community computer room.

Some of the exhibits are already inside the building, including a bank table, accompanied by clippings from local newspapers about the big 1969 bank robbery, some photos and memorabilia from Central Texas College, which was located in Blooming Grove in 1899, and other materials.

“We have a real good collection of newspapers, old Blooming Grove Times from the 1920s up until the late 1970s,” said David Haden, president of the society. “We’ve also got some things committed, like World War I uniforms, old track medals from back in the 1930s, all kinds of photographs and we have a good many other documents like notebooks and school assignments, things like that.”

One of the more unique additions to the Blooming Grove History Museum are the many recorded interviews with people, mostly older residents, about their lives in the city and years past.

“Some are video and some are audio,” Haden said. “Several of the people we recorded have passed away, but we’ve got a pretty good record. Most of the interviews start off with some questions, a form, but then they just take off. It’s really good. I wish they were all videos, but really the audio and photographs are almost as good. We have a good many of those. It’s not a huge collection, but we’ve done quite a few.”

The interviews will be available to visitors in the community computer room.

Other items available in the museum will be high school yearbooks, old stock show or Fair books, and some things about family histories, although it’s not intended as a genealogical collection, it will still have some supporting documents for people who are looking for family connections and history, Haden said.

Grants from the Navarro Foundation and the J. Tom Eady Foundation helped make it possible, along with donations, and valentine sales, Haden said.

The next step will be an appeal to the community for more artifacts about religious life, school years, business life, and personal histories.

“We’re waiting for people to donate artifacts,” Hinkle said. “We really want more history of local businesses.”

Although it has been a long process, the museum will be opening sometime in 2013, Hinkle said.

“We just don’t have it all worked out when, but we do plan to have it open in the near future,” she said.

     —————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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