May 23, 2024
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By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

The Muleshoe Heritage Center is a remarkable site with approximately 12 buildings that were brought to the area and restored by the citizens of Muleshoe.
However, the Heritage Center Board has been less active in recent years with only one member remaining on the board. On Thursday, Sept. 12, about 30 interested people met at the Muleshoe Santa Fe Depot to discuss the future.
Kenneth Henry served as spokesman at the meeting. However, he says he did so at the request of Sheila Stevenson, the only remaining active member on the board.
A slate of six candidates volunteered to be on the board, and the floor was open for nominations. The group elected the slate of candidates. Along with Henry and Stevenson, the board members are: Scott Miller, Darlene Henry, Jesse Montel, Jr., Greg Byers and Rhonda Myers.
Following the election, people freely reminisced about the Heritage Center and what it took to acquire and install the dozen buildings that are now there. Those include the Janes Ranch House, the Figure 4 Ranch House, the log cabin, the Muleshoe Ranch Cook House and Bunk House, the school building, the Virginia City Hotel, the original Muleshoe Santa Fe Depot and a dugout.
According to an online blog by Alice Liles, The Depot was moved in 1985 and dedicated in 1987.
Jean Allison, a teacher, was instrumental in acquiring the Center’s first building.
“Jean and a group of high school students didn’t want the building destroyed,” Henry said. “They got together, got the money and got it moved.”
The Dugout at the Center has concrete floor and walls with the original top. Henry credits Sandra Simpson for making sure the Dugout and other buildings were as authentic as possible.
“She spent a lot of time making sure the cook stove, the trunk and one bed were in the right place,” Henry said. “There’s one partition off the bedroom. The skillets the heated water in are there, along with tubs on the outside, the things they used in the time they lived in it.”
West Texas weather has been hard on the historic buildings.
“There’s been hail, wind and normal wear and tear,” Henry said. “We need to get the old paint scraped off, get to the good wood, seal that off and a get real good coat of paint on .”
Muleshoe citizens have already done some of the work.
“Bailey County Electric does some type of program once a year,” Henry said. “They were out here from 8:30 till 11:30 in the morning trimming the trees, running the weed eater and picking up trash with a smile on their faces. They’re younger than some of us. We need to get some more like that. There are a lot of good people in Muleshoe, Texas.”
Ann McElroy, previously a member of the Board and instrumental in grant writing, commented that there were a lot of memories of things that happened in the room in the Depot.
“This place is really special. The people who built it, who first dragged this building out here and moved the Janes House building – it’s just an unbelievable story. A little town like this out in West Texas, not necessarily a rich town, but they did all this.
“Think about what’s on our shoulders now … it’s your deal now. You’re present, you’re what’s left here, you’re what’s elected. Do whatever it takes to bring it back. … We need our kids and grandkids need to know about the people that built it.”
The Heritage Depot is active as a tourist attraction.
“In fact, Sunday, Texaco Farwell called trying to book a tour for tomorrow for senior ladies,” Henry said.
An RV Park next to the Center is a resource for tourists.
“Ray West gave $300,000 to Heritage Center, built the new office that’s out there and did the RV Park,” Henry said. “It’s a free RV Park, but people put money in the donation box. Most people pay. Their utilities and water is supplied. Some people say they stop every time they go through Texas to New Mexico. The park holds 10 people, and it’s been full several times.”
Olivia Sandaval serves as hostess, a paid position at the Center. For more information, call 806-272-5873.
The Heritage Center Board will meet at noon Wednesday at the Senior Citizens Center to elect officers and arrange for signatures at the bank. The meeting is open to the public, and fundraising ideas are welcome.



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