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The Backyard Explorer

Kristen Gibson
Kristen Gibson

Welcome back! Explorers are welcome and highly encouraged here! We’re hoping to encourage all of Glen Rose to become expert tourists in your own city.

We are so excited to take this journey with you to #ExploreGlenRose through a local “visitors” eyes, and enjoy all of the amazing sights, sounds, tastes, and adventures that Glen Rose has to offer! So, prepare to get off the couch and Explore with us!

This week, we’re going to explore the Somervell County Museum!

Let’s start with a little history! The Somervell County Museum opened in 1965 in the building currently known as the Talley Building and moved to its corner location of Vernon and Elm streets on the square in 1970.

In 1902, the building was demolished by a tornado that ravaged many of the buildings and homes in town, and had to be rebuilt. Prior to 1902 it served as the newspaper, and reopened as a gaslight theater when rebuilt and Coca-Cola Bottling Plant thereafter (In fact, some of the bottles can be found there today)!

When it was obtained by the Somervell County Historical Society in 1970, it became home to the museum. This year, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of the museum in this location!

Today, the Somervell County Museum houses a menagerie of items donated by local residents and their families throughout the years.

The cool old building houses items ranging from casts of tracks to real ones, an extensive barbed wire collection, arrowhead collection, a wooden headstone, a wooden leg, weaving loom, printing press, dolls, hand tools that were used at Barnard’s Mill, Civil War uniforms, and weaponry, a wall featuring the 1954 National Geographic mural of the excavation of the dinosaur tracks, and SO MUCH MORE!

One of the first donated and most visited items to-date is the moonshine still. This donation sparks lots of conversation about Glen Rose’s moonshiner past that can be read about in books and articles aplenty!

One of the more interesting displays is a wall dedicated to John St. Helen. Legend has it, that to his own confession, John St. Helen was the assumed name of John Wilkes Booth (The assassin of Abraham Lincoln) who appeared a decade after the assassination in Glen Rose and worked at Barnard’s Mill, later to die in Enid, Oklahoma in 1903.

The museum holds a derringer (pistol) similar to the one used in the Lincoln assassination that was found behind the old John St. Helen Cabin. The cabin itself was moved to downtown Glen Rose, and can be seen just off of the downtown square today… Oh, if walls could talk…

The newest addition to the museum is a donated lot of mammoth and mastadon bones that were recently brought to the museum from a private collection. So, if you haven’t been in a while, this is a great reason to visit again! The fossils are fantastic.

Outside of the museum, you will find a real track that is a great photo opportunity for visitors. To get to it, make sure to take a moment to enjoy the Native Plant Garden lovingly tended to by the Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society. It’s just about to be the monarch butterfly migration season, and they LOVE the Native Plant Garden.

The Somervell County Museum is a really cool place to visit and learn about the history and families of Glen Rose through the unique artifacts donated and by the knowledgeable volunteers who staff it. The museum is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday each week. The museum operates by donations only, so please consider making a donation when you visit!

To learn more about the museum, give them a call at 254-898-0640.

I hope you will take the time to explore the Somervell County Museum this weekend! Next month be looking for the next Glen Rose adventure itinerary! We’d love your suggestions as well!

Stay tuned, and stay #GoodInGlenRose. Adventure Awaits!