History of Museum Building/Site
History of Museum Building & Site
The site at 124 W. Main Street has had a busy history. It once was the location for a feed store or a mill, according to Azle old timers. Shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century, W.P. Smith and his son, Vick, operated a general store at the site.
In 1936, James and Eula Nation constructed the present two-story rock building as their home upstairs and a general store/gas station downstairs. They supplied fuel for the Model T's and A's of local residents. The filling station and store also housed a cafe called Aunt Ida's, which was in operation for two or three years.
Mack H. Skidmore came to Azle with his family in the 1930's and leased the rock building from the Nation's. He was the local manager of the new Rural Electrification Program, which the federal government created in 1935 to help local areas acquire electric power. Mr. Skidmore called a meeting in the building on March 20, 1939 to write bylaws for what eventually became Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. The new electric company began operating from the rock building, and local citizens came there to apply for electric service or pay their bills.
In a few years, when Tri-County Electric relocated to 413 W. Main Street, a family named Morton leased the rock building, living upstairs in the living room and kitchen and renting out the other rooms during the housing scarcity of WW II. Several persons who lived in the building during the war as renters remained longtime Azle area residents. The Morton's operated a barber shop downstairs in the front room and a beauty shop in the room behind it, which had a side entrance facing Church Street.
Mrs. Nation later deeded the house to the Azle Women's Club. Mrs. Louise Markum held speech therapy classes in the garage area of the building beginning in 1967 and paid rent to the Women's Club. Later, the City of Azle purchased the building, put up shelves and utilized it for Azle's library, with Mrs. Nation serving as librarian. Mrs. Markum still held her speech therapy sessions on site and remembered that parents would bring their children to speech therapy sessions and the siblings would stay in the library reading.
In 1976, the Azle Library moved to a new location at 609 SE Parkway, and the City of Azle allowed the newly formed Azle Historical Museum to have the rock structure rent free. The first floor contains exhibits in a farm room, music room, school room, and the front room houses a WW II display, watch repair display, doll house display and numerous other historical objects. The second floor has a bedroom, kitchen, and living/dining room that also contain historical objects.
The Azle Historical Museum remains committed to preserving the past for the future.
The Museum is totally self-supporting through fundraisers, donations and yearly membership dues.