Heritage, Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 1994 Page: 19
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Foundation Grant Provides Momentum
For Fort Davis' Overland Trail Museum
Nestled in the rugged Davis Mountains
of far west Texas is a tiny and once obscure
western frontier museum kept alive through
sheer grit and the dedication of a small, but
determined group of volunteers. The Fort
Davis Historical Society operates as its
showcase The Overland Trail Museum,
housed in a donated 1880's adobe structure.
Through the efforts of these volunteers,
the museum tells the story of the western
frontier settlement of this tiny west Texas
town, focusing on its strong ranching and
During 1992, it became apparent that
the Society was facing a task that would try
all of its resources, both human and financial.
The roof of the old building was in
desperate need of repair, and its deterioration,
which posed great harm to the artifacts
inside, was a source of grave concern to the
members of the Fort Davis Historical Society.
Because of their limited ability to raise
matching funds within their community of
only 800 people, and due to the fact that
the museum was only open part time, it
seemed that everywhere the members of
the Society turned for help, they were
turned away, causing complacency and
apathy among the group.
Hope sprang anew, though, when the
Society learned of the Texas Historical
Foundation's grant program, which supports
projects that preserve Texas heritage. With
renewed vigor, all of the grant processes
were started and completed, and within
two months word came that The Overland
Trail Museum in Fort Davis had been
awarded a $3,000 matching grant for a new
roof. According to members of the Society,
the new roof, though, is just one of the
many benefits that the infusion of capital
Since the awarding of the grant, gifts of
money and family treasures have been
flowing in. The docent is now able to keep
the doors of the museum open to the public
on a regular basis five days a week. A
professional photographer has donated time
and talent to help preserve the museum's
extensive photo collection. People use the
resources of the museum
to research family histories.
Bus tours now
stop on a regular basis.
Members of the local
Boy Scout troop have
volunteered to replace
the roof on another
building in the museum
complex, using the tin
from the original museum
roof. Also, artists
in the area have donated
their works for a
raffle that benefitted the
and volunteers have
called the grant from
the Texas Historical
Foundation" a gift of not
only money but faith."
Today, the new roof is
on the building and new
smiles are on the faces
of all who visit and work
in Fort Davis' Overland
The Overland Trail Museum in Fort Davis (with scaffolding above) stands
ready for its new roof, which is being hoisted by a group of volunteers in the
HERITAGE * WINTER 1994 19
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 1994, periodical, Winter 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46807/m1/19/: accessed February 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.