I headed out today for a tour of the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park where they had an exhibit of Neil Armstrong’s autographs on display for the last day. Most of them were authenticated with some memorabilia from some of his pretty ambitious missions,
but there was some question about at least one of the items.
In the end, I enjoyed a very expensive tour of four of the ten buildings on the site where no indoor photography was permitted.
The most primitive of the four buildings is called The Old Place. Its one room contains a fireplace for cooking, a kitchen table with a candle maker, gourd vessels, and a metal plate to eat off of, a large uneven toothed 2 handled saw to cut wood, a large wooden yoke presumably for pulling logs with an animal, a huge barrel to hold some kind of fluid, and a bed made of a wooden frame with ropes across the bottom to support its corn husk mattress. When one wanted to “sleep tight”, one would tighten the ropes to support the mattress a little better. I guess it’s 3 or so steps up from a hammock. On the side of the porch was a wooden stump with a piece of metal on the top to the side, possibly for hammering hot metal or straightening nails? The cabin was built from cedar (natural termite resistance?) probably shortly before the Alamo and before the 11 year war when Texas became its own country, by one of the original Stephen F. Austin “300”, surviving in the Houston area, hurricanes and all, until 1973 when it was moved to this site.
Another structure on the site was a modest 1891 German Lutheran church with a wood stove on the first pew for heating. It seats 65. Built by German and Swiss farmers, and called the St. John church, it has an interior with rounded corners on the ceiling “to keep the devil out of the corners”. The church was entirely in German, with copies of German baptismal and confirmation papers on the wall, and a rope at the inside of the sanctuary door for ringing the bell. I rang the bell, and a bird flew down to rest at the window.
The docent, from Texas A&M Praireview, was refreshingly inquisitive, discussing many of the items from “first principle”-based knowledge of other evidence. She seemed almost born to do this kind of research.
It was my last bit of cash. What legacy do we arrive with, what legacy will we leave?
A lot of innovation. A lot of art.