The official opening of the Somervell County Historical Library and Research Center, which includes the former Somervell County Heritage Center, is expected to be in July.
The center, which houses extensive volumes of county history, genealogical records and obituaries, will be inside the Somervell County Library at 108 Allen Drive in Glen Rose.
Joan Taylor, volunteer coordinator of the center, said that July will also be the time frame for an open house, with the exact date yet to be announced.
“Once we get it completely organized, we will have an open house. Hopefully toward the end of the month it will be ready for people to come in,” Taylor said Monday.
Volunteers packed up the items for the move, and county employee John Morales along with a couple of helpers loaded the material and transported it to the new location.
“We could not have done any of this without volunteers,” Taylor said. “The community came together.”
Another crucial factor was that Somervell County Librarian Peggy Oldham made room for the material, clearing out two rooms inside the library.
One of those rooms had been for meetings and the other was where the large-print books were kept. A couple of large closets were also cleared out to be used for extra storage space for the center’s material.
Approximately 300 boxes filled with unnecessary material accumulated over 23 years were discarded, made possible with “muscle” provided by about 50 Glen Rose High School football players who volunteered to help.
The trim-down process also includes a book sale will be held at the old downtown Heritage Center Library building today through Saturday (9 a.m.-3 p.m.). All proceeds go to support the Paluxy Valley Archives and Genealogy Society.
Volunteers who operate the center learned last November that the contents would have to be moved out of the former downtown building at 100 N.E. Barnard St. by July 1.
That’s because Somervell County Commissioners voted by a 5-0 margin that the building had to be vacated so it could be put up for sale.
“We just couldn’t see them closing it,” Taylor said. “It’s very dear to most people. Somervell County has more people who were born here, stay here and die here than any place I’ve ever lived.
“This is a new chapter in the book for the locals. You become complacent if you don’t change. I’m excited about this. I hated leaving. I loved that building.”
Genealogy service will be offered at the new location as well. Betty Gosdin serves as a certified genealogist for the center.
“We have to get this over to the young people,” Taylor added. “We have to pass this on to them. I think it will be something the community is going to be proud of. I think people will be surprised at what we’ve put together.”
The move will also include items belonging to the Somervell County Historical Commission, as well as the historic Vernon Lemens Legislative Library. Both had been in the downtown location.
Lemens, a former Somervell County politician, was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1929. He became a member of the Texas Senate in 1936. The Lemens Library includes not only his papers and records, but also the desk he used in his Austin office. A place has been cleared in the center of the Somervell County Library for the desk.
Somervell County Librarian Peggy Oldham said that the process of moving the contents of the center into the library turned out well.
“They’ve got it looking pretty nice. It’s going to be OK,” Oldham said. “They really had a big job. They had so much. It’s an overwhelming job.”
Taylor said the center will need more volunteers. Anyone interested finding out more can reach her by calling the library at 254-897-9073.
The hours of operation will be the same as the Somervell County Library — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. Both the library and the center will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.