Open each Saturday from 10am until 4pm, The Gladewater Museum is filled with historical photographs and artifacts depicting life and history in the Gladewater area from the pioneer days to modern times.
Gladewater was founded in 1873 by Texas and Pacific Railroad and post office established the same year. The museum pays homage to the railway that built the town with a depot exhibit filled with antique tools, lamps, photographs, punch tickets and many more artifacts specific to the Texas Pacific Railroad.
Through the early 1900’s Gladewater grew slowly with farming and lumber industries as the driving forces. By 1908, it has ten stores, a bank, two blacksmiths, two hotels, a gin and a sawmill until 1931 when oil was discovered and the town went from 500 people to 8000 in less than a decade.
The museum tells this story through photographs of the town’s growth and many different artifacts generously donated by the families that founded the area and grew wealthy in the oil boom. Personal items from these families such as clothing, furniture and toys really capture the essence of the time.
The museum’s War exhibits feature artifacts from residents who served in WWI and WWII. The museum is run by volunteers, so you can even chat with some of the people who lived the history, served in the war and generously donated these artifacts for display. Dona Mills graciously showed us her WWII Army nurse uniform the day we visited.
Gladewater has several claims to fame, but perhaps one of the most popular is that it served as a home base for Elvis Presley’s early tours. The museum has many photographs and artifacts of Elvis from his time in Gladewater and beyond.
The museum has a wonderful tribute to the Gladewater Round Up Rodeo that has drawn people to Gladewater each June since 1938. Visit the museum for special exhibits Saturdays during the rodeo.
As the recognized “Antique Capital of East Texas,” Gladewater doesn’t disappoint. The museum has an abundance of antiques from early banking, photography, printing, music, house wares, education, business and industry. You’ll want to make trip to visit the museum during the Gusher Days Festival on April 20. You never know what treasures you’ll find at the museum.
Be sure to visit The Gladewater Museum Open Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and by appointment. 116 West Pacific Street in the Ellen Bauman Community Building. Call 903-845-7608 for more information. www.gladewatermuseum.org