The old Cooper Railroad Depot houses the Patterson Museum at 700 West Dallas Avenue in Cooper Texas. The Depot, built in 1913 by the Texas Midland Railroad for passengers traveling between northeast Texas towns such as Cooper, Enloe, and Paris.
During WWII, Harry Patterson, founder of the museum, used the building for his cannery. Many returning veterans would speak about opening cans with the distinctive '4P' brand and finding delicious cooked and boneless chicken from their hometown. The Depoyster Lumber Company occupied the building for a short time before Patterson converted it to it's present use in 1967. Patterson's lifelong dream was to provide a link to Delta County's past by establishing a museum, and this building serves that purpose admirably.
Harry Patterson spent many days of his life in pursuit of obtaining exhibits for the museum. After his death in 1984, his widow, Bena, served as curator until her death in 1992. The Board of Directors continue the work of maintaining Delta County's history, and Patterson's dream lives on.
View the following links for a few of the countless displays available at the Patterson Museum. Read about the rooms below.
Patterson Museum Displays-Page 1
Patterson Museum Displays-Page 2
The museum is open on Saturdays, April through October, from 10 am to 3 pm. Special tours may be arranged by calling:
Main Room: In the main room there are display cases, themselves antiques from a bygone era, with books, pictures, personal items, dolls, chairs and rockers. The stained glass window above is from the M.E. Methodist Church (built 1906). The Presbyterian Church donated an ornately curved pulpit, also in this room, the wood for the pulpit was brought to Texas by covered wagon.
Medical History Room: Visitors take a step back in time when they enter this room. In the glass case is a leather case carried in a saddle bag by a country doctor as he traveled form house to house. An early x-ray machine is hardly recognizable from the machines of today. Many of the medical displays came from the Dr. O Y Janes practice. Dr. C C Taylor's original medical certificate sits atop the desk.
Grandpa's Workshop: to the left just inside the door is a whisky barrell from one of the last legal distilleries in Delta County, a lady's sidesaddle, and many tools that were used daily in early Delta County. The forge on display was used to create 'white heat' to weld the steel bands of wagon wheels.
Blacksmith Shop: Take a step outside into the blacksmith shop. Many of the pieces were brought from Ben Franklin, TX. The anvil is the centerpiece, surrounded by other various tools from that era. It has been resurfaced in the past the ring is still pure.
Kitchen: A number of items used before the introduction of electricity and gas make up this room. From a waffle iron, wood stoves, and milk cans. Close your eyes and remember the smell of grandma's kitchen as you see some of the tools she used.
Garage: A six-cylinder Ward LaFrance fire engine graces the main area. This fire truck was used many years in the county and driven to the museum in 1960. A wooden work wagon is located along the west wall. A meteorite which fell in the county in 1910 also finds it's place in the garage (where else would it go?) A most unusual tool which looks like a giant corkscrew, hangs on the east wall. This was used to check the temperature of piles of cottonseed, if the pile got too hot it could auto-ignite.