Day Trips: The Vanishing Texana Museum, Jacksonville: Rail Ticket Takes Museum Demolition – Columns

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

The Vanishing Texas Museum brings together all kinds of stories related to Jacksonville.

There’s the story of how Jacksonville came to be”The tomato capital of the world“by first putting the tomatoes on the market, then by developing the bushel baskets still made in the city.

The backstory explains how the only texas flag to go to moon came to the museum.

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

The story of a crazy stone from the belly of an albino deer tells how it could heal rage.

Among the stories is how the city almost acquired the former train depot for the museum.

Jacksonville was founded 150 years ago this year as a railroad town. In 1985, the railroad donated the depot to the city for use as a history museum. The small building didn’t have much to look at, but the brick walls were solid.

In 1985, the Highway 69 bridge over the rail yard had not yet been built and it was not uncommon for trains to block the highway. One day, the chief of police felt that the engineer was taking too long to clear the tracks. With the red lights flashing, he parked the disabled train and wrote the engineer a ticket for obstructing traffic.

Jacksonville Station, circa 1974

The Union Pacific the manager was not happy with the ticket. The next day a bulldozer arrived at the railroad agents’ place with papers transferring ownership. The building that was to be converted into a community museum was demolished and the land remains empty to this day.

The Vanishing Texana Museum has finally moved to the old library at 302 S. Bolton. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s worth about an hour to hear the stories about Jacksonville on the docent-led tours.

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