The Peace Garden
The Peace Garden is featured in Forest Park Cemetery just outside the city area. This is a 10 by 20 foot carved limestone bas relief 'Peace in the World' which features 9 angels representing the varied nine ethnic groups of the world. Driving around the cemetery - it took me some time to find it. It is on the back right-hand side.
American Cotton Museum / Audie Murphy
This is a wonderful museum which introduces you to the cotton industry which was very big in this area. It is dedicated to the preservation of the history of that industry and takes you through the planting, growing, ginning, baling, spinning and weaving of cotton. You will also learn about the residents of the blackland prairie area and their contribution to the county.
The Museum was founded in 1987 as the Hunt County Museum. The idea of an American Cotton Museum began in a downtown storefront location and has now developed into a major tourist attraction and research centre. Many conferences, symposiums and festivals are held at the Museum which has become the forefront of local history and historical cotton research in Texas.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10-5, Sunday: 1-5.
The Ende-Gaillard House
This house was built between 1857 and 1859 by Charles Frederick von Ende for his wife, Emilie Amelia Rinecker von Ende. It was later sold for $900 to his daughter (Louise) and son-in-law (Dr David Gaillard). It was originally sited at Stonewall Street but after Louise's death in 1945, the house became part of a lumberyard and was threatened with demolition. It was saved and moved to a city park in 1957 then to the American Cotton Museum in 1996. The house is the oldest standing structure in Greenville. It includes a parlour, bedroom, dining room and doctors office.
The porch which is displayed in the museum is typical of a back porch of many houses in the south between 1900 and 1930. There are many tools on display that farmers would use and also the wife in the house. There are the old wash boards, cream separator, corn sheller, several irons, knee pads used for cotton picking and an egg carrier which would hold 144 eggs.
Plows and Planters
The first plows were used prior to the Middle Ages, they would have been pushed or pulled by an animal. The wheeled plow was first developed during that time and was used for harder types of soil. Plows changed little until the 1830's when the North American Prairie prompted blacksmith John Deer to invent the steel plowshare. This was a two-wheeled sulky plow with a seat for a rider and was developed during the American Civil War. By 1890 larger farms were using steam-powered tractors. However, most cotton farmers frequently used animal powered equipment as shown at the museum
The Cotton Buyers Office
During the period between 1890 and 1940, Cotton buyers and brokers were the ones responsible for the distribution of cotton world-wide. Cotton buyers would usually buy the cotton direct from the farmers by the bale and the price was dependant on the grade and market price at the time which tended to fluctuate with climatic conditions, trade embargoes and instability in the economy.
Pratt Gin Stand
In the gin stand, the seed cotton rotates in the seed roll and is agitated by a cylinder to ensure all lint is removed from the seed. Teeth of rotating saws grabs the lint and pulls it between narrowly spaced ribs which stops the passage of the seed. This process continues until the seeds are completely ginned. The lint stays on the teeth and gets 'doffed' by a doffing cylinder then the ginned seed is discharged from the machine and taken away.
Cotton Gin Model
The first gin in Hunt County was built 3 years after the end of the Civil War in 1868 and was run by a team of 6 horses that pulled a lever. Later another gin was built in the county and it was run by a team of oxen treading all day long turning a tread mill. Farmers brought their cotton to the gin and leave it with their names on it waiting for their turn. Ginning was a slow process as the cotton had to be carried in baskets and fed by hand into the gin stand.
Low Hill was a prominent rise in the Smith Prairie area. Joseph Low built this 10 room house in 1915 to house his 12 children – 10 of his own by 3 wives and 2 of his third wife. The house was destroyed by fire. This model took 10 months to build with much of the furniture especially created to show the home in its original form. The model cost nearly as much to construct in 1987 as the original house.
Audie Murphy Gallery
The other part of the Museum is largely dedicated to Audie Murphy - the local and national hero as well as other WWII memorabilia. Audie Murphy was the most decorated U.S. soldier in WWII. Audie was the son of a sharecropper who left home to join the war and returned home a national hero. He was deployed from Camp Kilmer in New Jersey and joined the division at North Africa early in the war. He remained with the same unit through its battles in Sicily and Italy and followed through to fight in Southern France and Germany.
On his return, Audie went into the cinema business and made more than 40 movies which included his own biography, To Hell and Back. He stared with noted actors such as Jimmy Stewart (Night Passage), Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn (The Unforgiven), Sandra Dee (The Wild and The Innocent). He married actress Pamela Archer in 1951 and the marriage lasted until Audie's death in 1971. He wasn't that old when he died in a plane crash at the age of 46.
There is fairly large collection of military memorabilia which relates to Audie Murphy and to other Hunt County veterans.
At the end of the war, Audi was only 21. Up to that time he had killed 240 German soldiers, had been wounded himself 3 times and had earned a total of 33 awards and medals which included the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the French Legion of Merit, and the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. Three of the medals were from France and one was from Belgium. He was only 21 at the end of WWII.
Congressional Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor was awarded to Audie for his outstanding heroism on January 26, 1945 in a town near Colmar in north eastern France. The day was extremely cold with snow falling. Two companies of German troops were advancing when Murphy, thinking they were all going to die, climbed on top of a burning tank destroyer and using a machine gun mounted on the tank, he single-handedly over several hours, killed 240 German soldiers and saved his men. The war was to effect and haunt him through his entire life.
There is a small display on Monty Stratton who was a resident of Hunt County. Monty Stratton was a major league pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. He lost a leg in a hunting accident but still continued to play baseball. He was born near Wagner and lived just east of Greenville for a number of years. A movie "The Stratton Story" was made on his life and started Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson.
Edwin Arnold was born in Greenville, went to Greenville High School and was on the football team which won a State Championship. He joined the army and distinguished himself in action. Known as Edwin 'Cotton' Arnold, these were his medals.
The Puddin Hill Store
This is really quite a unique place. This quaint little store front greets you into a world of a distraction for dieters. The store is right next to the bakery and candy kitchen of 'Mary of Puddin Hill'. This site is part of the original Puddin Hill farm which was owned by James and Mary Horton in 1839. Puddin Hill has been using the same recipes for over 150 years for its cakes. This is no ordinary chockie store.. this is truly a gourmet experience that even the lesser of the sweet tooth folks won't be able to resist. Don't think that the prices are run of the mill either, you truly need to have someone special to buy for or be really geared to give yourself a very special treat. They have a catalogue and you can shop online with free shipping.
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