Wills Point, Texas.
1927 Wills Point Train Station (Depot)
Wills Point Depot Museum
Entrance to the Depot Museum
Wills Point Depot Museum is a historical museum that houses a collection of artifacts, documents, and photos from the city’s old businesses, institutions, households, agricultural and railroad industries. The exhibits are mostly donated by Wills Point residents and the museum is maintained and operated by Wills Point Historical Society. The brick building itself was not the first depot, or train station, that operated in Wills Point. It was built in 1927. The main entrance of the museum leads to what used to be the waiting room.
1926 Majestic Theatre Backdrop
Artifact from 1873 Rose Dry Good Co.
Advertisement on 1926 theatre backdrop
Bookkeeping from an old business in Wills Point
Exhibits from old Wills Point schools
Foot impressions on the flooring of T.Z. Woodhouse Mercantile Store
Assorted artifacts from local businesses
An artifact donated by local residents
The office and ticket selling booth of the old depot
Handmade boots froom 1950s
Teeth pulling plyers from late 1800’s
From Dr. Harry T. Fry’s office, 1880’s
Medical exhibit area
One of the exhibits in the Quilt Room
Heritage Days Quilt commemorating 100 years of Wills Point in 1974
The main wall in the room is the eye-catcher. It is covered by old business signs that used to flourish in Wills Point and a painting in the middle. Haberdasher, millinery, how often do we hear or see these words nowadays? Look closely and notice that those are actually painted on one piece of huge cloth that used to be the theatre backdrop in the 1926 Majestic Theatre across the railroad. What used to be the depot’s restroom area on the east side, now hosts artifacts from Wills Point schools. The original ticket-selling booth and depot’s office on the west side, holds various memorabilia such as old cashier machines, typewriters, and many more. In the further west rooms, agricultural and medical artifacts are exhibited. Pictures from the old “golden days” are displayed in the Pictorial Room. Centennial Quilts, vintage clothes, and turn of the century furniture, are the main attraction in the Quilt Room.
The museum is currently open by appointment only. It is located at 210 W. South Commerce St (on US HWY 80), Wills Point, Texas 75169. For enquiry and appointment call Pat Mitchell, (903) 873-4568.
For those who like to flick through history of the city and the county, several copies of Van Zandt County Genealogy Publications and 1954 Wills Point Chronicle (hardbound) are available for browsing at the museum. Or, travel two blocks north from the Depot Museum to West High Street, between 5th and 4th Streets, to gain Wills Point’s history in a glance through six panels of wall murals. These murals were lovingly and painstakingly created with inputs from a number of citizens and painted by a local artist, Dan Fogel.
Photos © Ine Burke / Inegaleri 2013
Published in County Line Magazine July/August 2013 issue.