Hometown Pride Tour: Jail Museum keeps history alive

Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:36 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Less than a five-minute walk from the Clay County Courthouse in Henrietta sits the 1890 Clay County Jail Museum.

It has not housed a prisoner in over 40 years but instead houses history.

Jill Avis is the vice-president of the Clay County Historical Society.

“Most museums are not surrounded by a historic archive,” said Avis. “That is one of the unique things about our museum. We can tell lots of stories about what went on and all that kind of stuff but the fact that we saved this building.”

The museum would not even be standing if it was not for the help from people like Avis’ late mother-in-law.

“There was a possibility that they were going to tear it down,” said Avis. “She and her friends and some other gentlemen got busy and they saved the building.”

The museum strives for variety. They have everything from re-creating the days when pioneers settled to inventions still used by farmers and ranchers today, including a branding heater and calf branding table.

When you walk through the museum you’ll see the history of farms, ranches and families who made Henrietta and Clay County what it is today.

The museum believes it’s important for people to remember where they came from to continue the legacy.

“The richness of the history and the perseverance of the people that came across from all over on the east coast,” said Avis. “They lived in sod houses and dugouts and built this land.

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