Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

November 20, 2012

Frost working to preserve history

FROST — Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about efforts to preserve the history of small towns in Navarro County.

After collecting hundreds of historic photographs, and printing a 400-page book about Frost’s history, the residents of Frost are looking at another goal — a Frost history museum.

Danny Gillespie, who is the city secretary and one of a series of informal historians for Frost, began collecting photos last year for what he envisioned as a booklet for local folks in honor of the city’s 125th anniversary celebration. When it was finished, they had a large-scale book with photos that ranged from the sweet and endearing family shots that could be anyone’s grandparents, to the photos of a devastated town in the aftermath of a killer tornado.

“Reception has been wonderful,” Gillespie said. “We’ve sold 175 and we’re doing our second printing.”

Each copy of the book costs $65, and after taking out the printing costs, the rest is going into a the budding museum. Gillespie has mailed copies of the book all over the U.S. to former Frost residents. The charming photos include a “pin-up” photo sent by Sammie Armstrong, one leg bared and hand on hip, that she sent to her husband, Arnold, in the Navy during World War II, and dozens of houses, farmers, kids, horses and dogs from every decade since 1890.

“Even if they’re not from here, it’s fun to look through for the pictures,” Gillespie said.

Although the museum is following the book, there has always been interest in a museum in Frost, said David Malone, chairman of the society.

“There’s always been interest from a few individuals to start a museum,” he said. “We look at the book as a starting point because we got a lot of interest stirred from collecting those images and the brief history that was put in, but it did exist in a few people’s minds to do it.”

Location was part of the initial challenge, Gillespie said.

“At first, we looked at the second floor of City Hall, which after the 1930 tornado housed the First National Bank and Masonic Lodge, but we knew that with the current ADA requirements, it would be cost prohibitive,” Gillespie said. Larry and Debe Kern then offered up an alternative — the former Frost movie theater at 116 N. Garrity.

The first business in that site was Beene Bros. Furniture and Undertakers, which sold caskets 24-hours a day, and was converted into the theater in the 1940s. When that closed in the 1960s, it housed “The Purple Radish,” a kind of dance hang-out for the high school crowd. It has since been an antique store, a video rental store, and a private home.

“It’s been so many things over the years. Now it’s going to be a museum,” Malone said.

A donation allowed the city to reroof the building, and with the help of county community service workers and jail trustees, they’ve taken out the raised floor and stripped out some of the weird additions that were made in the last three or four decades.

Except for the roof, they’ve spent only about $200 on the building so far.

“Even though it’s a department of the city, we’re trying to operate off private donations,” Gillespie explained.

The relatively new Historical Society, made up of Malone, Jimmy Mitchell, Gillespie, Ken Reed, Cheryl Tatum, Theresa Martin, and Robert Ballew held a meeting just last week to vote on the name of the museum, which will be the Frost Heritage Center. They chose not to call it a museum because they want it to be more than a place to house remnants of Frost’s past.

The center will have a full kitchen, ADA bathrooms, and a meeting space. The organizers admit it’s a work in progress, and they’re far from opening the doors to the public, but working with donated space, donated labor and donated funds means taking a little time.

“It’s still kind of loosey-goosey right now, but we’re getting more formalized,” Malone said. “We’re just so shocked that it’s moving along. It’s been kind of refreshing.”

Civic-minded Frost residents have been donating things to the city for years, things like great-grandma’s bonnet, letter jackets and yearbooks, and there are promises of World War II materials, even parts of buildings and businesses that were once proud parts of Frost’s commercial district. The anticipation is that there will finally be a place to display it all.

“We’ve got stuff, and people need to see this stuff,” Gillespie said. “It doesn’t belong in a storeroom.”

     —————

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

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • UWNC main Helping our fellow man

    A beautiful day, delicious food and the very entertaining Mike Doocy of Fox 4 Sports combined to provide United Way volunteers with a lot of appreciation for their hard work in the 2014 campaign.

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • YMCA warns against woman fraudulently soliciting funds

    A woman has been soliciting funds, falsely portraying herself as representing the YMCA, Executive Director Terry Seth reported late Wednesday afternoon. A business owner in town informed Seth a lady solicited his business, saying she was raising money for the YMCA for a program for deaf children. Seth says the YMCA does not have such a program.

    April 16, 2014

  • Wine and walking

    About a dozen local businesses are opening their doors for the Derrick Days Wine and Cheese stroll this year, and many are only doing it as an open house opportunity.

    The stroll is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. April 24 in downtown Corsicana. It's free and open to the public.

    April 16, 2014

  • 4-16-14 WestCenter.jpg Remembering West: Ceremony to mark first anniversary

    In April 2013, the city of West was forever changed after an explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 15 people and altered the landscape of the tiny Texas town. A year after that deadly blast, the city will stop to remember that fateful day and pay tribute to those who were lost, including Navarro County firefighter Perry Calvin, one of the first responders killed by the blast.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Navarro College seeks public input at Town Hall event

    Community perception of the role Navarro College plays, and how it can better serve Corsicana and Navarro County is the goal of a Town Hall meeting called at the college for Monday, April 21. The town hall presentation will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Dr. Richard M. Sanchez Library on the Corsicana campus.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-16-14 DowntownHop.jpg Annual 'Hop Downtown' Easter party Thursday

    The Easter Bunny will once again be making its annual pre-Easter stop in Corsicana Thursday for an appearance at the Downtown Corsicana “Hop Downtown” party. The event is taking place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with activities up and down Beaton Street in downtown Corsicana.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-14 Derrick Days meeting.jpg Countdown to Derrick Days

    A small town hosting a big event like Derrick Days takes a lot of volunteers, coordination and details — lots and lots of details. That's what Tuesday's meeting of the Derrick Days Committee consisted of, nailing down the last-minute wrinkles to make sure things run smoothly next week.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police advise caution with roof repair

    After the hail storm Monday, the Corsicana Police Department began receiving several calls from citizens reporting roofing contractors going door to door soliciting to inspect and repair roofs from possible hail damage.

    April 15, 2014

  • Moment of silence marks Boston Marathon bombings

    Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing with solemn ceremonies.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 TaxDay.jpg Ready for the IRS?

    The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret. If you're due a refund — and about three-fourths of filers get refunds — April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo