Houston’s Heritage

December 1, 2005 by  
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Located in the heart of downtown Houston, you will find Houston’s only outdoor, interactive historic museum and park: The Heritage Society. With nine authentically restored structures, a museum and a general store replica, there is something for everyone at this unique museum that offers a look into Houston’s past.

Forming the society
When the 1847 Kellum-Noble House, the oldest surviving brick house in Houston, was scheduled to be demolished in 1954, Houstonians Faith Bybee, Harvin Moore and Marie Phelps jumped into action and founded The Heritage Society. The newly formed group had one mission: to preserve the quickly disappearing Houston history for the education of future generations. Since saving that first house, The Heritage Society has added eight more historic structures to form the Historic House Tour you will find today in Sam Houston Park.

Walk through history
For a unique look into Houston’s history, you’ll want to tour the nine historic structures, which have been authentically restored to depict what life was like for early Houston settlers in frontier times. There are a total of eight houses, now including The Old Place, which is thought to be the oldest structure remaining in Harris County. The Yates House, built by a freed slave, reflected the newly found opportunities for black Houstonians. In addition to the homes is St. John Church, built in 1891 by German farmers, which still has the original altar, pulpit and cypress plank pews.

Look into Houston’s past
If you’re looking for a more traditional museum experience, visit the Museum of Houston Heritage at the corner of Bagby and Lamar on The Heritage Society campus. Exhibits include 19th century paintings by Houstonians, rare Texas furniture, cut glass on loan from June Adair of Brilliant American Cut Glass and various rotating exhibits. The Museum of Houston Heritage also boasts a replica of the Duncan General Store built in 1878 in Egypt, Texas. Children can play with toys popular in the 19th century or try churning butter during a tour of the store.

For rent
Need a place to hold your next party? The Heritage Society’s Tea Room (located in the Long Row Building) offers a unique space for weddings, receptions, dinner parties, cocktail parties, meetings and other special events. If you are looking for something a little closer to nature, the John B. Connally Plaza is also available and can be easily tented or left open. With a perfect view of Houston’s skyline and the open space of Sam Houston Park, your event is sure to be remembered.

Tour time
Visitors to Sam Houston Park may leisurely walk around the grounds, view the gardens and admire the exterior of the historic structures of The Heritage Museum. To step inside these magnificent structures, visitors must go on guided tours. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby, (713) 655-1912, www.heritagesociety.org H

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