News and Events - August 2022



August 2022



News and Events from

The Museum of North Texas History












Dear Members,     

We hope you are staying cool during this HOT Texas summer! Our air conditioning works just fine; stop by and see what we have to offer.

We are installing a portion of our Toy and Doll Collection at the Wichita Falls Public Library in August. While returning your summer reads, take a moment to look at the awesome collection of toys.

Tickets can now be purchased for the Legend of North Texas Event honoring Eddie Hill. The event will be on Wednesday, October 12, at 11:30 AM at The Kemp Center for the Arts, 1300 Lamar Street, Wichita Falls, Texas. Individual tickets are $50 or a table (seats 8) can be purchased for $360.





Downtown Wichita Falls - Art Walk




Native to Wichita Falls , Fuago and Kohi Zenji, are graffiti artists who have the unique ability to convey positivity on virtually any canvas.

They will be creating bicycle themed art during a live demonstration of their art form. The finished product will be on view at the Multi-Purpose Event Center (MPEC) during HHH.



Thursday, August 4th


5:30 pm - 9:00 pm



Legends of North Texas 2021/2022





Eddie Hill joins previous Legend honorees Nat Fleming,

Joe Tom White, Robert Seabury, Roby Christie,

and Arthur Bea Williams.





Eddie and Ercie Hill


The Museum of North Texas History is pleased to announce the Legends of North Texas event honoring Eddie Hill, retired American drag racer, which will take place Wednesday, October 12, 2022. The event occurs at 11:30 AM at the Kemp Center for the Arts, 1300 Lamar Street, Wichita Falls, Texas.


Tickets for the luncheon will go on sale Wednesday, August 2, online (here) at Eventbrite and at the Museum during regular business hours. Individual tickets are $50 and tables can be purchased for $360. For more information, call the Museum at 940-322-7628.


Mr. Hill has won numerous championships on both land and water. Eddie is still the only racer to have been the yearly championship winner and fastest drag racer on both land and water. He also concurrently held speed records in both venues. Eddie has won trophies and races in nine decades from the 1940s to 2020.

“We are excited to honor Eddie Hill as the 2021-2022 Legends of North Texas. Not only has he contributed to the racing world, but he is also a fixture in Wichita Falls with his business, Eddie Hill’s Fun Cycles”, says Museum Executive Director, Madeleine Calcote-Garcia.


(Eddie and Ercie Hill photo courtesy NHRA)



Bit of History



Each month we will highlight "bits" of North Texas history.



Memorial Auditorium




What do a “singing Mayor,” an elephant, a W.P.A. sewing room, and Eleanor Roosevelt have in common? Memorial Auditorium.

In 1914, Robert Huff and William McGregor gave land to the City of Wichita Falls for a park. The land, located near Crescent Lake and Seventh Street, would later include a pool and tourist park. W. M. Priddy gave money to build a fifty-foot wading pool.  In November 1926 Judge Huff signed a waiver to all claims and restrictions on the Huff-McGregor Park so the City could build Memorial Auditorium.

Mayor R. E. Shepherd, known as the “Singing Mayor,” visited Fair Park in Dallas. He brought back enthusiasm for a Wichita Falls cultural center and a center for city government. In December 1926, Mayor Shepherd and the city council advertised for bids for Memorial Auditorium.

A committee comprised of the mayor, city council, and local citizens, Walter Cline, W. B. Hamilton, John Bland, J. B. Marlow, and Harry Awker plus Colorado architect, Alfred A. Fischer. The group reviewed proposed architect plans, ultimately choosing Voelker & Dixon with J. E. Morgan as general contractor.

Constructed for a half-million dollars during 1927-28, Memorial received a nearly 1.5 million dollar update in 1964, finally getting air conditioning. In 1984, Memorial was designated a Historic Landmark by the City of Wichita Falls.

Memorial Auditorium soon was the home of City of Wichita Falls offices and agency offices of the Boy Scouts, irrigation district, American Legion, Spanish War Veterans, child welfare agency, and the North Texas Cerebral Palsy treatment center. During the Depression, the finished basement housed a sewing room operated by the Works Progress Administration.

Upon opening in 1928, the Chicago Civic Opera performed “Aida” at the auditorium. Over the years many performers have taken the stage at Memorial.

They include Fanny Brice, Will Rogers, Liberace, Ethyl Barrymore, Duke Ellington, Al Jolsen, Paul Whitman, Charles Laughton, Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Elvis, Rise Stevens, Doris Day, and an elephant.

Eleanor Roosevelt spoke from the stage on a “Day in the White House” and Ronald Reagan appeared in later years.

There have been many discussions about Memorial Auditorium.  In recent years, discussions about the future of Memorial’s existence have circulated. The best way to end is with this quote from a 1967 newspaper, “Officials of both the city and chamber of commerce say it’s impossible to put even a rough estimate on the dollars and cents return the revamped auditorium has brought Wichitans but they agree, as do most citizens, that it’s a nice thing to have around.”




Texas Association of Museums 2022




Excerpt from a presentation made to the

Wichita Falls City Council on May 17, 2022


Economic Impact

Museums have a much higher perceived value and consequently higher return of investment (ROI) than traditional forms of industry. While a good return in a for-profit business is 10% for every dollar spent and advertising aims for 500% return, according to a pilot study by museum professional John Falk, the return on perceived value for museums lies between 1,000% and 2,000% percent. Data showed that the average day-long or partial visit to a museum or cultural site was calculated to be worth about $418. The impact calculated was based on follow-up surveys at least three weeks after the initial visit and asked guests to evaluate several aspects of their visit. Overall, the value of a museum visit is perceived in areas of well-being: personal (experienced a ‘Eureka’! moment), physical (museums are widely perceived as “Safe Spaces”), intellectual (learning or seeing something new, or even passing that knowledge on to a child or traveling partner), and social (who the visitor is with is just as important as the destination).


The hard dollars and cents calculation is also impressive. Museums attract travel dollars, supporting and growing local jobs, increasing tax revenue, resulting in a bigger civic coffer to hire public servants, improve roads, and reinvest into the cultural sector. While not seven, the economic multiplier effect of a single dollar as it is re-spent in an open economy, is closer to five, resulting in significant gains for even a small investment.








Wichita Falls Junior College opened in September 1922, the second municipal junior college in Texas. It was operated by the Wichita Falls Independent School District and superintendent Randolph Lee Clark. Its liberal arts curriculum drew fifty-five freshmen that fall. Classes met in the high school on Broad Street. What a change 100 years brings!

(Photo from MSU Texas; Text from Texas State History Online)



German-Texas Settlers

The largest ethnic group in Texas derived directly from Europe was persons of German birth or descent. As early as 1850, they constituted more than 5 percent of the total Texas population, a proportion that remained constant through the remainder of the nineteenth century.

From their first immigration to Texas in the 1830s, the Germans tended to cluster in ethnic enclaves. A majority settled in a broad, fragmented belt across the south-central part of the state.

(From Texas State History Online)



Museum Donations





The items above were left by the front door of the Museum while we were closed. We don't know who donated the crocheted baby cap or the photos and clippings. We were able to get in touch with the person who donated these items and take care of the paperwork.


All museums have policies about what they can and cannot collect. Museums have paperwork that both the donor and the Museum must complete so the donation legally becomes a part of the Museum's collection.


Please do NOT drop off items at our front door when we are closed! We don't know who donated these items or anything about them. We cannot add them to our collection without the proper paperwork.

During the last several months, items have been dropped off at the front door multiple times. This creates more work for museum staff and we know you don't want that!

If you're interested in donating items to the Museum, message us on social media through our Facebook page, call us at 940-322-7628, or use the contact form on our website, which you can access here.



Hotter N' Hell Hundred

August 25-28





Hotter 'N Hell Hundred is one of the oldest and largest cycling events

in the United States.

Over 13,000 riders from across the globe gather in Wichita Falls to tackle a variety of courses spread out over three days.


When you are on the road August 25-28, please keep a lookout for bicycles!



For more information about HNH 2022 click here.








Museum of North Texas History








Jenny to Jet


Wichita Falls Municipal Airport


4000 Armstrong Drive Wichita Falls, Texas 76305



Museum of North Texas History

Officers of the Board of Directors


President: Tim Swagerty

Vice President: Lindsay Barker

Secretary: Bryce Blair

Treasurer:  Paul Fleming


Executive Director: Madeleine Calcote-Garcia

Curator: Leanne Ray

Newsletter Editor: Becky Trammell, Ph.D.



Museum Hours

Thursday - Saturday

10:00am - 4:00pm

Wichita County Archives

Located in the Museum

Hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm (By appointment)

Tuesday - Thursday

Bryce Blair, Archivist




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