Friday, March 23, 2012

There's Still Time!

     The response we got from the last blog post was fantastic! Thanks to everyone who responded to the recent call for research participants. Now we’re focusing all our attention on making this idea a reality, and we are eagerly anticipating the events--which are now just weeks away!

     Remember, it's not too late; you still have a chance to tell your story! If you’re lacking inspiration, just take a look at our new “Our Town Research” tab for some real stories that were submitted from the community. This is where research will be posted until the event, then we will print signs with your information, which will be placed in your yard the weekend of the event. We also have examples of more casual narratives outlined in the post, “Myth Busters" on the "home" page of the blog, if you’re more inclined to focus on a personal approach.

     If you need more guidance, we have experienced researchers ready and willing to help: Judy Linsley, McFaddin-Ward House Museum Curator of Interpretation and Education, and Bill Grace, Branch Manager at Tyrrell Historic Library are waiting for your calls.

     Judy may be contacted at (409) 832-1906, and Bill is available at (409) 832-2759. Or, if you’re simply interested in participating in our tour or any other future events, check out our Facebook page for all the details. Come be a part of our preservation project and learn all about the unique history "Our Town" has to offer!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Sign of the Times

The “Our Town” events of April 13-15 are drawing near, and we couldn’t be more excited! We’re happy to announce that we now have fabulous sign layout available, thanks to the generosity of Blazek Design, a Beaumont-based graphic design business. The signs are 2’x4’, emblazoned with the “Our Town: Preserving the Past” logo against a creamy background.

Participants were originally expected to design their own signs, but with Blazek Design’s participation, we will now be able to print them professionally and uniformly!  Here’s just one example:

If you would like to have us print your sign, please submit your text and photos to the museum no later than Friday, March 30, 2012. You can email the information to us at or bring it by the McFaddin-Ward House visitor center, 1906 Calder Avenue. The information will then also be put on our brochure and blog.

Along with your data, be sure to include your name, phone number, street address, and email address. That information is strictly for us to be able to contact you and will, of course, be kept confidential.

Once the signs are printed and mounted on stakes, we will bring them by your home on Thursday, April 12 or Friday, April 13 for placement near the street or sidewalk. If you have a specific request for the location of your sign, please let us know when you submit your data.

If you prefer to design your own sign, that’s fine, but please still bring us your research, photographs, etc., by Friday, March 30, so we can copy it and include it on our brochure and blog. Then we’ll order signs that are blank except for the printed logo and have them ready for you to pick up the next week.

We are grateful for all of the talent and effort our community is putting into the project; now, we need to be sure everyone meets the research submission deadline of Friday, March 30, 2012. That’s crucial in order for us to have time to edit the information to fit the signs. In fact, the earlier you can send your pièce de résistance, the better!

Participants may e-mail their submissions to Judy Linsley at, or mail them to the McFaddin-Ward House Museum Education Department at 725 Third Street, Beaumont, TX 77701. They may also be dropped off at the visitor center. Just be sure to include your name, phone number, street address, and email address along with your information (we’ll be sure to keep that private).

For questions or help getting started, feel free to call the education department at (409) 832-1906. For an example of a research piece, check out our last blog entry, “Old Town Research: The MythBusters Edition” (clever, we know), that contains both a casual and a formal approach to research submissions.

While you’re surfing the Web, don’t forget to check out Joey Blazek’s Web site at for more examples of his work. As for us, we’ll be at our desks, waiting for your phone calls and submissions!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Old Town Research: The Myth Busters Edition

We’ve spread the news about our research project and now we have some great examples of research to share with you! The project, "Our Town: Preserving the Past," is spreading in popularity, and it's not too late to join us.

Word on the street has it that any type of research is hard, and we’re writing to dispel that myth. If you’re interested in participating, but are overcome with visions of your high school or college research papers, never fear.

Have a cool story about the time you unearthed arrowheads from your yard, or when your parents made you enact a play for the neighbors?

Tell us! We’d be happy to read it – and share it – with the rest of the “Our Town” participants. Understandably, a research project creates anxiety for most of us, so we wanted to give some tips and ideas on how easy the project can be, and share some of the research we have already collected from participants.

Here's an example of a casual narrative:

“This old house has been our home since 2005. A friend told us that he thought the place was built in the 1920s and that at one time there was a potato chip factory in the backyard. The factory has since been replaced with a vegetable garden, and two of the bedrooms have become art studios. Our five-year-old granddaughter now runs a café in our kitchen.”

This narrative is also told in a casual voice:

“This duplex was built around 1930-1940. A carpenter lived in the 2520 side for many years and the many closets and cabinets are evident to this fact. This lot also had a workshop/garage in the back that was damaged during a storm and was recently demolished earlier this year (2012).

The pecan tree in front of the 2520 side can produce amazingly large pecans because there are many other pecan trees in the neighborhood for it to cross-pollinate with. The current renters enjoy the wood floors and the crystal doorknobs, as well as all the window light available.

The current residents’ knick names are Rusty and Lorenzo. She is a photographer/writer and he is a founding member of the Scooter Club Golden Triangle. This was the location of the first “Moveable Feast” dinner club event in 2011.”

Our docent and avid historian, Nat Hallmark, demonstrates a more formal approach to these house “tales” in this excerpt:

“Texas Historical Sites Inventory and Beaumont Historical Landmark Commission describes the style of the home as Vernacular Victorian. It is considered one-story frame with hip roof porch and five Doric columns. Significance of the property was stated as, 'The home represents middle-class housing built in Beaumont after the turn of the century. The original owner was E.B. Hammell, contractor.'(Note: Later is was verifed that L.J. Russell was the original contractor.

If these (or anything in-between) suites your style, sign up for the project by calling us at (409) 832-1906 at our education department. There’s no catch, no strings. After we take down your contact info, it’s just you, your writing utensils of choice, and your experiences (in 500 words or less).

For the more adventurous at heart, we’re also here to help you along with your research, just in case you need some help digging up the past.

Be sure to attend the Tyrrell Library research workshop on Sat., March 3, 2012. The free event, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, is designed to give historians and amateur researchers an inside look at how to navigate the library’s Web site and hard copy collections.

Reservations are not required, but are encouraged due to materials provided.

Please contact Bill Grace at (409) 833-2759 to sign up and to obtain more details. For more information on the neighborhood walk project or any of the upcoming events, contact the McFaddin-Ward House Museum at (409) 832-1906.