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 Texas : Features : Columns : Bob Bowman's East Texas

A new museum in Rusk

Heritage Center of Cherokee County
Rusk, Texas

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
An old grocery store in Rusk now houses memorabilia telling the rich history of Rusk and Cherokee County--one of the oldest counties in East Texas.

The old Barr grocery store was donated to Rusk by the Norman Foundation of Jacksonville and remodeled with the financial help of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation of Diboll and the Pineywoods Foundation of Lufkin.

The building, known as the The Heritage Center of Cherokee County, sits a block off Rusk’s courthouse square Cherokee County was occupied by Indians long before white men traveled west to Texas from the Old South. Arrowheads, pottery shards and other relics from the Indian era can be found regularly in the county.

Exhibits at the Heritage Center include an old poster bed once used by Texas Governor Jim Hogg, who lived in Rusk; photos and other items from New Birmingham, an iron-making community that once stood on Rusk’s outskirts; and items from the Texas State Railroad, which still carries passengers on a route between Rusk and Palestine.

Visitors will also find a wealth of old photos from early Cherokee County scattered throughout the museum, reflecting what Rusk and the county looked like decades ago.

Combined with the opening of the Museum was an autograph party for Marie Whitehead’s book, “The History of the Rusk Cherokeean, 1847-1973.” Mrs. Whitehead is the paper’s publisher.

The Cherokeean traces its origin to the years after the Civil War and is a descendant of the Rusk Pioneer and the Cherokee Sentinel. The paper was also known as the Texas Observer, in which Governor Hogg had an interest.

A few years ago, the Cherokeean was merged with the Alto Herald, and lays claim as the oldest, continuously-operated weekly newspaper in Texas.
Bob Bowman's East Texas
July 12, 2009 Column
(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of more than 40 books about East Texas history and folklore. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com.)


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The Forgotten Towns of East Texas, Vol. I
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66 stories about forgotten town in 45 counties
 
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