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Learning to Love History

I never cared much about history when I was growing up. It wasn’t one of the subjects in school that sparked my interest. Instead, I enjoyed psychology, sociology and English composition. My dream was to be a high school guidance counselor, just like the adults who inspired and encouraged me.

My husband Houston, on the other hand, has always been a big history buff. World War II was in many ways a subject I studied in school, but through Houston, I learned so much more about that era and other time periods. I’ve always admired his love of learning, particularly learning about the past. And now turns out he’s rubbing off on me.

I realized this the other night while working a jigsaw puzzle and watching/listening to the British version of the Antiques Roadshow. The show appeals to me because it’s an outlet where viewers can learn about interesting items and what they were used for. I’m especially intrigued by the stories of who owned each item, that person’s life and how they’re related to the one who brought the item to the program on that particular day. 

Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about our “new to us” 150 year old building on Beaton Street in downtown Corsicana. It was built in 1874 and served as the offices for the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. (At least that’s what we’ve been able to find out so far.) Corsicana’s depot was the first train station built on the line that began in Houston and terminated in north Dallas. 

We continue to learn about the many lives of our building. It’s been a hotel, the state’s first Wells Fargo and a Dr Pepper bottling company. It has housed a tearoom, a barbecue restaurant, a winery tasting room and now once again a barbecue restaurant. 

It’s so fun to think about the people who lived in our little town back when our building was first built, and who might have taken the train or gotten goods from its cars. I wonder what it was like to stay as a guest in the room that will serve as our master bedroom. Did those people enjoy the sound of the train as much as I do?

So this is where you, dear reader, come in. If you have any information about 211 S Beaton Street in Corsicana, Texas, please reach out. I want to hear your stories and those of your ancestors. I want to learn all I can about this building that has come to mean so much to me. 

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the May 18, 2024 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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