History center: Thank you, Vircy

November 24, 2012

History doesn’t change – but a big chunk of Hood County’s history has changed hands.

The result will be part of the historical information available for viewing by the public when the Bridge Street History Center has its official opening on Friday, Nov. 30.

Preserve Granbury and the Bridge Street History Center Board of Directors will mark the opening of the center, at 319 E. Bridge St. in Granbury, from 4-6 p.m., coinciding with the Candlelight Tour of Homes.

“The history here is rich,” said Maurice Walton, one of the center’s board of directors. “There is never going to be a want of stories to tell about Hood County.”

Among the key exhibits will feature General Hiram B. Granbury and General John Bell Hood. And, of course, others well known through the years in county history, such as the Nutt family, are also well documented. The history will also highlight not-so-famous people who formed the foundation of the county’s early days.

“We want to tell the story of the people of Hood County. The early settlers – typify the type of folks that were here,” Walton said.

A recent special addition includes a room devoted to the writing, mementos and documents from the extensive personal collection of local historian Vircy Macatee.

Walton said last week that he was surprised by the sheer amount of valuable information Macatee had accumulated, which “helps identify what went on here.”

Three filing cabinets had been moved from Macatee’s garage to the center at that time, and Walton noted there were “still probably about five or six boxes of documents.”

“Most of her adult life, she has collected documents and put together information on her family ties to Hood County,” Walton said. “Preservation of her family histories has really been a mission for her. It has a lot to do with her parents. They obviously instilled this interest in her.”

She was born Vircenoy Baker on Sept. 23, 1923, and grew up in the Mitchell Bend area of southern Hood County. She said she has been researching and collecting information about her family and Hood County history for about 57 years.

“It’s a lifetime of work, almost,” Macatee said, noting that she feels the Bridge Street History Center is the best place for her collection to be stored. “It’s very important to anyone interested in the early history before Hood County was formed. It’s research I did to write my family books.”

She noted that the county history has to include Somervell County. The bottom third of Hood County was split off to form Somervell County in 1875 after residents petitioned the Texas Legislature.

Macatee has written two books documenting the early days of her family. One published in 2009 focuses on the Baker family. The other, published in 2010, details her mother’s side of the family – the Barkers. The books will be available for purchase at the center.

“I found some very interesting characters in my background,” Macatee said, before emphasizing that the display is all about the history – not her. “Hood County has a very, very interesting history.

“I hope there will be some families that will be interested in researching their families and sharing their contributions, making this area what it is.”

In addition to Walton, the other members of the center’s board of directors are Diane Lock, Marvin Porter, Jake Carraway and Cody Martin.

Volunteer docents will staff the center, Walton said. Its regular hours are set for 1-4 p.m. each Saturday, but that could be expanded as more volunteers come forward.

[email protected]|817-573-7066, ext. 254

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