Okay, I’ll admit that it even shocked me, and I’ve been preaching Heritage Tourism for 30 years; however, when Dublin EDC director, Karen Wright, recently shared with me that over 850 million people visit American museums every year, I actually did a double take. Why? Because that figure is more than ALL of those who attend major league sporting events and theme parks combined!
Like it or not, history sells! In fact, pure history puts over 21 BILLION dollars per year into the national economy, 2.26 BILLION of that being spent in Texas. That’s hard, cold dollars, folks, and all of us might as well be taking a bit of that for our towns, right?
The town of Comanche, and especially the group called Revitalize Comanche, Inc. has been working very, very hard for the past year to set the stage to be able to do just that for the town. With the newly acquired Higginbotham property (made possible by the gracious gift of Higginbotham Bros.), Revitalize Comanche can now see the dream becoming a reality.
Of course, the first issue facing the group is funding, funding, and more funding. Revitalize Comanche, Inc. is in the process of meeting with fund raisers, scoping out grants, and, of course, accepting private donations for the museum/heritage center that will eventually fill the Higginbotham building. Of course, it will come in phases.
The first phase will actually consist of two parts.
One of those parts is being spearheaded by Sandy Luker, who is working on plans to add a heritage park to the outside lot, located behind the old jail, currently the law offices of Chris Till. Eventually the lot will be transformed into an area that shows off days gone by in Central Texas, via log cabins, corn cribs, outhouse, windmill, etc. The grounds will be landscaped with a path that winds throughout the lot, leading to each exhibit.
The second part of the first phase involves the actual Higginbotham building itself. In the front part of the building (about 2,600 square feet) will be constructed a vintage mercantile, set in the late 1800s. Although the mercantile will carry items (albeit more upscale) that could feasibly have been carried by the Higginbothams of that time period as well as what is hoped will be a baked item that will knock those proverbial socks right off of visitors to the mercantile!
The goal of it all is, of course, to become the instrument that stops a portion of those 12,000 vehicles per day that currently race right through the town square. If that can be accomplished, then it will be the responsibility of business owners to provide wares that are interesting enough to tourists to woo them into their own shops, thus adding another source of revenue into the town coffers.
Of course, there will be more phases to come but for the moment, it is phase one that is occupying the thoughts and plans of those involved in the project. If you would like to be a part of it all, let Sharon McKinnon or any other Revitalize member know. Someone will be very happy to put you to work!
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Revitalize Comanche, Inc., you can mail your check to P.O. Box 266 Comanche, Texas 76442. You can also use your Pay Pal account to pay via the secure website.