|History of McCulloch County Historical Museum
The Heart of Texas Historical Museum is housed in the old McCulloch
County Jail. The jail was constructed in 1910 at a cost of $14,418.75.
The three-story structure served as the county's correctional facility until
1973. Although never used, it contains a death cell, complete with a
hanging noose and a trap door, which was converted to a security cell
for more "troublesome" prisoners. The first floor consisted mainly of
jailer's quarters, with the top two floors housing prisoners.
In 1973 McCulloch County realized Brady's second jail would no
longer meet state requirements and would have to be replaced. A
group of prominent citizens felt the old building was worth preserving
and would make an interesting museum.
In 1974, a private non-profit corporation was set up under the name of "Heart of Texas Historical Museum, Inc." This
corporation purchased the jail from the county for $5.00. A local fundraising drive was organized to provide money for
restoration of the building. Matching funds were offered by the State of Texas for this purpose. By 1976, restoration was
complete and displays began to be installed.
The building was placed on a state list of historical sites which aides the museum in seeking grants to maintain the
building. The museum itself has undergone constant improvements. Displays were originally set up in cases donated by
local businesses. In recent years new vertical display cases with modern lighting systems have been acquired. The
museum continues to get different display cases and new acquisitions. There have been improvements and upgrades
including a new furnace, a computer and Internet access for research and information. We are continually rotating
display items and trying to let visitors have some hands on history! Come see what we have done!
|Jon McConnel, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, called the museum "the best small museum I have seen."