History is coming to life at the Historical Park of Denton County.
Work is underway to move the historic Taylor family log home and log barn to the site, and officials are working to increase visits from schoolchildren, add history-related events and brown-bag lunches, improve landscaping and maintain the presence of the Denton Community Market. There’s even talk of adding a shop at the park, said Peggy Riddle, director of the county’s Office of History and Culture.
The park includes the Bayless-Selby House Museum and the Denton County African American Museum. Riddle said she’s hoping to add more structures — including the Taylor home — and relocate a gazebo that is now in a temporary spot after being moved to make way for a welcome center.
Riddle and other local history buffs are looking ahead to plans this year in anticipation of a meeting of the African American Museum’s planning committee in the next few weeks.
“With more high-density residential and downtown Denton [traffic], we would like people to view this as their local park,” said County Commissioner Andy Eads.
Riddle said she is open to suggestions from the community on changes and upgrades to the park.
The Taylor house was donated by the Taylor family of Corinth last year, and officials have been working to remove artifacts from the home to prepare it for relocation, Riddle said.
“We hope maybe by the fall we will be able to move the Taylor log house and log barn to the park,” Riddle said.
She said officials will carefully document the pieces of the home so it can be reconstructed at the park.
“It’s almost like Lincoln Logs where you have to number everything, and when you put it back all the logs go back to where they are supposed to be, as well as the stone chimney,” Riddle said. “So that will be a project, if anyone in the community wants to help.”
Eads said the county is working to draw new visitors to the park, through local events and field trips for students.
“We plan on partnering with many of the school districts within the county to increase the number of field trips to the park as part of students’ Texas history curriculum,” Eads said.
Eads said he also wants to continue to host the community market as a way to increase visitation.
“We would like to have a brown-bag lunch series about Denton County and North Texas history, and we would like to open the Bayless-Selby House to more social and civic organizations to utilize for special events such as luncheons and teas,” he said.
The park will continue its partnership with the county’s Master Gardeners to improve landscaping at the site, Eads said.
The relocation of the firefighters memorial to the county’s Loop 288 Administrative Complex freed up some space to use for special events, Eads said.
Riddle wants to find a permanent resting spot for the gazebo, which is sitting on blocks off to the side of the welcome center.
Riddle said there has been some discussion of adding a shop to the area.
“We just had one of our community volunteers ask about helping out with a gift shop in the courthouse,” she said.
She envisions the shop being filled with Denton-exclusive items.
“One-of-a-kind Denton souvenirs, not like things made in China,” Riddle said. “Things made locally. We have such a creative talent in Denton County.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875.