By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
Pioneer Village has been a Corsicana attraction since its inception in 1958, and is frequented by schoolchildren as well as a plethora of visitors — from local residents to international tourists. Located in Jester Park, formerly the Old City Park, Pioneer Village boasts nearly 20 structures — some historic structures, and some built on site.
The effort began in 1956 when the Navarro County Historical Society decided it wanted to do more than just collect pictures and artifacts, said Bobbie Young, curator of the museum.
“They brought the Frontier House here in 1958 — that was Doctor Cooksey’s house,” she said, believed to have built in the 1850’s.
You will find pioneer artifacts, family heirlooms and early furnishings in many of the facilities, along with salutes to law enforcement, Native Americans, and a country music star with hometown roots — Lefty Frizzell
From the Lefty Frizzell Country Museum to the Harmon Hoodlum Wagon, from the Peace Officers Museum with an extensive collection of photographs and articles about Bonnie and Clyde to the McKie Play House with toys of yesteryear, there is something for every age to see.
And the tourist numbers continue each year, she said, from all over the country and all over the world.
“We’ve had people from major countries, minor countries, and from every state in the nation,” she said.
It’s easy to recall how many visitors were at Pioneer Village in 2011, Young said.
“There were 2,011 — that’s easy,” she said, although Young says there were likely more than that, as some visitors may not have registered, or tracked by museum personnel.
Young said it’s hard to say which display at the museum is the “favorite” — although she does know that school kids visiting Pioneer Village do have a preference.
“The kids always say they like the jail,” she said with a laugh. Inside the Peace Officer’s Museum are displays of Corsicana and Navarro County’s past association with some fairly well known criminals — including Bonnie and Clyde. An old jail cell made up of bars from an old city and county jail inside still shows some bars that had been repaired after attempts to saw through them.
Open daily, the museum draws both young and old alike, Young said.
“They come from all over the country, even the world,” she said.
The Lefty Frizzell Museum and statue located nearby is also a favorite of country music fans. Frizzell, Corsicana-born, was a legendary country music writer and performer, one that many mainstream country artists consider a mentor for his style and traditional sound. In addition to several displays of country music memorabilia provided by artists and collectors, a bronze statue of Frizzell stands near the museum in Jester Park, and includes a mural showing some highlights of Frizzell’s career.
Next to the Frizzell museum is the start of the next exhibit — a re-creation of an old Magonlia Gasoline Station — with hopes of having it completed by Derrick Days weekend in 2013.
The museum is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults, and $3 for children and students.
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Pay a visit
Corsicana’s Pioneer Village is an interesting stop while sightseeing in Corsicana. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults, and $3 for children and students.