As President Harry S. Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”
History, its study and preservation, is really the story of us — the human race. And by studying those who came before us, it becomes the means through which we come to know ourselves.
In our own community, there’s a tremendous wealth of history — both regionally in the Texas Hill Country and specifically right here in Kerrville.
Many residents, such as historian and KDT columnist Joe Herring Jr. and those involved with organizations such as the Kerrville Genealogical Society and the Kerr County Historical Commission, work to preserve these treasures.
In the latest iteration of his weekly column, Herring concludes by suggesting that Kerrville should have a dedicated historical museum to store the priceless artifacts of its storied past.
He couldn’t be more right.
Of course, there are places such as the Schreiner Mansion Historic Site and Event Center and the Kerr Regional History Center — places where the public certainly can explore Kerrville’s past.
In its own way, the Museum of Western Art also serves to preserve a portion of the area’s history, a snapshot of the Old West, refracted through the magnificent lens of art.
All over Kerrville, there are separate groups and individuals working to spread knowledge and awareness of the area’s long past. Those efforts are valuable and worthy of praise
But with more than 170 years of recorded history, there are a great many artifacts, images, stories and more in Kerrville that don’t necessarily fit in any existing location and yet very much deserve to be both preserved and accessible to the public.
Treasures such as the striking cache of photographs by Starr Bryden featured in today’s edition, rediscovered almost entirely through happenstance, can all too easily vanish from memory without a dedicated place to safeguard them.
From Native Americans and early German settlers, through the days of the Republic of Texas and the boom following Reconstruction, or even the more recent past — the halcyon years of poodle skirts and pompadours — Kerrville’s story is our story.
It’s a story of people who made the best of land that, although beautiful, was never easy to develop. A story of people who made the best of things, who thrived despite adversity. People who built the bustling and thriving community we know today.
It’s a story that deserves to be preserved, to be told and shared for generations to come.
It’s a story that needs a home.