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Farmers Branch Historical Park

2540 Farmers Branch Lane
Farmers Branch, Texas

Phone: 972 406 0184 --
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Statement of Purpose:

The Historical Park was created to establish, collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Texas with an emphasis on Farmers Branch.

The park will bring to life our past by interpretation of the culture, education, religion, and activities of the period of 1800- 1946 through the restoration of original buildings, such as the Old Rock House and the Depot. The Farmers Branch Historical Park will be a center where present and future generations can learn and appreciate Indian Lore, agriculture, early railroading, and know the significance of early settlers and pioneers, their customs, sacrifices, and achievements.

Park History

Settled in 1842, the Peters Colony Texian Land and Immigration Company issued the first headright to Thomas Keenan in Farmers Branch. The Historical Park is part of a tract of land which once belonged to John L. Pulliam, a native of Tennessee who settled in the Peters Colony around 1842.

The colony was administered by W.S. Peters and nineteen other entrepreneurs through a grant from the Republic of Texas, for the purpose of bringing more settlers to the new republic. In 1855, Dr. Samuel H. Gilbert purchased 274 acres out of the original Pulliam Headright and settled with his wife near Farmers Branch Creek. Almost a century later, William and Maude Dodson built their home close to the "Old Rock House," Like Pulliam and Gilbert before him, Dodson became a part of Farmers Branch history when he was elected the city's first mayor in 1946.

During the 1980's, citizens in Farmers Branch became concerned about preserving the remaining 22 acres of land which had played such an important part of the City's history. In 1982, the Mayor and City Council appointed an Historical Preservation and Restoration Board to spearhead the movement to develop an outdoor museum to preserve and interpret the history of Texas with an emphasis on Farmers Branch, Today, the Historical Park stands as a monument to yesterday's pioneers and to the citizens who are working to preserve the past for future generations.

Highlights & Collections:

Come explore Farmers Branch and Texas history with a walk back in tirne from 1937 home of the first Mayor of Farmers Branch to a 1900's one-room school to a 1890's church to an 1885 Queen Anne Victorian Cottage to 1870's Depot to the 1850's Gilbert House (the oldest rock structure in Dallas County) to a log house and barns dating to the settleynent of the area in 1842!

The park is handicap accessible and has parking for 80 cars. The 22 acre site includes 14 structures in a park-like environment with two meadows and plenty of room to enjoy both nature and history for your family.

Exhibits & Special Events:

History of Buildings at the Historical Park Dodson House (1937)

In 1937, William and Maude Dodson built this modest home near Farmers Branch Creek (they later moved it to its present location away from the flooding of the creek). The home was a frequent location for political discussions that eventually led to the 1946 charter for incorporating the City of Farmers Branch. Mr. Dodson was then elected as the first Mayor.

The home is furnished in typical 1930's and 1940's fashion. It is frequently rented for parties, meetings and receptions.

The Historical Park Office is located on the second floor of the house and the Museum Shop and Visitor Center is located in the adjacent garage.

School (1900's)

Farmers Branch holds claim to the first organized school in Dallas County. The first classes were held in 1846 in the Methodist church.

This school was built around 1900, near the intersection of Valley View and Dennis Lane. Around 1915, the "L" shaped building was split into three parts. This one-room portion was relocated to Bee Street and used as a home. In 1985, the building was moved to the Historical Park and restoration was completed in 1991. Educational artifacts are used in the structure to interpret a turn-of-the-century, one-room school.

Church (1890's)

Early communities were bound together by the formations of churches of all denominations. In 1845, Isaac B. Webb founded the first church in Dallas County,less than two miles from the Historical Park.

The church in the Historical Park represents the typical North Texas church during the end of the nineteenth century. It was built during the 1890's in Renner, Texas and was relocated to the Historical Park in 1985. Early churches were commonly referred to as "meeting houses" because of their multiple uses, such as church services, town meetings, and school and social events.

A common practice of these churches was to employ circuit-riding ministers who would ride a circuit of several churches, sometimes not preaching in the same church for weeks at a time.

This church has been restored and is used for weddings and meetings. It includes pictorial artifacts of early Texas churches, an 1885 pump organ, the original pulpit, and a rare player grand piano.

Depot (circa 1877)

In 1872, to assure that the railroads would come to Farmers Branch, Dr. Gilbert and other local settlers sold rights-of-way through their land. Around 1877, the Dallas and Wichita Railroad built this depot. The rail line, which runs from Dallas to Denton, was sold to Jay Gould and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 1881. The Interurban Railway electrified the line in 1924 and until 1931 ran as many as 50 scheduled trains per day, The Depot was relocated to the Historical Park and restored in 1985.

The Depot is used to display artifacts that demonstrate the impact different modes of transportation had on early Texas.

Hours:

Summer Winter (daylight savings time: last Sunday in October - first Sunday in Apr.) Park Closed: Fridays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day

Tours: Can be scheduled on Tues, and Thurs. from 10am-2pm. It is recommended that appointments be scheduled at least, two weeks in advance.

Admission & Directions:


Images.


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Key Personnel:

Ron Harmon, Director
Tom Proctor, Superintendent.

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