Hometown Pride Tour: Wilbarger County Historical Museum

Dean's tamale cart sit proudly on display inside the museum
Dean's tamale cart sit proudly on display inside the museum

VERNON, TX (KAUZ) - Our hometown pride tour continues with a trip to the Wilbarger County Historical Museum.

Preston Cary, the museum curator, has spent decades collecting historical items from all over Wilbarger County.

But his passion is not just about collecting, rather sharing it with the community.

As you make your way through Vernon Texas, you can still see building and signs, giving you a glimpse into the past.

When you walk through the doors of the Wilbarger County Historical Museum, that history comes to life.

"It's like you can feel as if you had been there, once you go through this museum you actually feel like you had been there back in the day," said Cary.

Preston has spent years putting this historical collection together, which is on display to the public inside a piece of history itself; the old jail house.

For the past several months Preston has fought Mother Nature to keep his collection alive, with heavy rain causing a leak in the roof.

With the help from the Vernon Main Street Association, Preston was able to raise $14,000 for a new roof.

"Fact is I would've probably had to close this museum because it was getting to the point I couldn't save anything I was losing too much," said Cary.

Preston was able to keep the doors open and continues to share his collection with people of all ages.

Though there are thousands of pieces inside the museum -- one hand painted tamale cart, once owned by Mr. Harvey Dean, holds a special place in Preston's collection.

"He was out on the Courthouse Square ringing that bell and he was there from daylight to dark and he sent three boys to college selling hot tamales on the street corner," said Cary.

After years 40 years of searching for the cart Preston has lost hope, but received a phone call one day from Arizona.

The call was from Dean's son, who heard Preston was searching for the cart and wanted him to have it for his collection.

Today, Dean's tamale cart sit proudly on display in Preston's museum. Where visitors come from all over the country can see it.

Preston said its pieces like this that keep him hunting for new treasures, even if it means jumping in a dumpster.

"I'd say you don't mind if I dig in your dumpster do you, so now we got feet sticking out of the dumpster we're going for it," said Cary.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday 12:30 pm - 5:30 pm.

There is so much to see and learn about, plus the craziest part is Preston still has more of his collection to put on display.

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