Cecil and Renee Wells
The Hardin County Historical Commission and the Hardin County Genealogical Society are preparing for the grand opening of the Museum of Hardin County in the near future.
The creation of a history museum has been a major goal of the County Historical Commission for many years and a location has been located and purchased that will provide the perfect location to honor the courage of the Big Thicket pioneers and inspire generations to come.
The museum, which is located off Main Street in Kountze, is the most recent labor of love between the Historical Commission and the Genealogical Society. The groups have worked hand in hand to bring their dream to fruition.
The Hardin County Genealogical Society voted to purchase the property in 2009 and restoration of the building by volunteers of the organizations has been ongoing.
Built in 1916 to house the Hardin County State Bank, the building has been home to an abstract office and several other businesses since the Great Depression forced the bank's closure.
Grants, donations, and proceeds from book sales have made the building renovations possible. Books for sale by the Genealogical Society including Hardin County Cemeteries, Pictorial History of Hardin County, and Hardin County Timeless Treasures, have played a large part in the financial support of the restoration.
Floyd Boyett, Glen Cook, Jerry Morris and other volunteers have put in countless hours of work on the building.
Renovations include a newly remodeled upstairs that houses a meeting room and offices of the Hardin County Historical Commission, chaired by Jimmy McKim. The downstairs area will house the museum, featuring photographs and items of historical interest.
The Historical Commission recently named Renee and Cecil Wells co-chairs of the committee on historic preservation and the Genealogical Society named Cecil Wells curator of the museum. They look forward to working with volunteers to ensure the past of Hardin County is not forgotten.
"It's a matter of preserving history. My family came here in 1903 and you find out as you get older, if you don't preserve history, it's lost forever," Wells stated.
Individuals with items of historical interest, noteworthy events and information on early family settlers are asked to contact the Genealogical Society for their items to be considered for the museum.
The group urges these residents to allow their artifacts to be displayed in the museum so that younger generations can learn about, enjoy, and appreciate the history of a county with such a rich past.
Residents may donate their items permanently, and allow the museum to become their forever home or they may place their items on loan to the museum.
With the grand opening slated for June, the group is working to prepare the building and gather the items for a memorable occasion.