During the 1970’s, the Gladewater Historical Society began collecting articles and preparing to publish the history of Gladewater. Two books, Gladewater, Texas 1873-1973 and Gladewater, Texas Bicentennial Edition 1976, told the story of Gladewater and the courageous families who settled the area. Many of the exhibits in the museum are based on the information and pictures found in these books.
The Gladewater Historical Society was chartered as a non-profit educational association in 1987 to preserve and interpret the history of the Gladewater area. At this time, the large floor-to-ceiling cabinets that are now used for exhibit space were purchased. The story is told that these cabinets were installed in Day Drug during the 1920’s. Since the Historical Society had no building, these huge cabinets were stored in several locations before coming home to 116 W. Pacific. Eventually the name of the society was changed to Gladewater Museum Association.
Present Building History
The museum is now located in the building known as the Ellen Bauman Community Building. It was built in 1939 during the Art Deco Period. Doc Shepperd was the Gregg County Commissioner at the time of the building’s completion. The building was used for county offices and a library downstairs. The second floor was used by various community organizations for meetings and social gatherings. The library moved to a new home in 1973. Since that time, the building has been used by various community groups.
Official Opening to Present
On Friday November 4, 2005, The Gladewater Museum held a Ribbon Cutting officially opening the museum. On Saturday, November 5th at 10:00 am the museum was finally opened to the public. It is now open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm., except for the last two weeks of the year depending upon when the holidays fall. At present, the museum if totally staffed with volunteers.
The grand opening featured the ‘James G Hineman Collection’ which includes the World’s largest collection of Rooster related memorabilia. The collections also includes a large variety of Cigarette Memorabilia, an outstanding representation of wash boards, Oil Lamps and Lanterns, some of which are still on display in the museum.
Mr. Hineman was born Jan 29, 1922 in Longview, TX. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. After World War II he returned to East Texas to complete his higher education. He taught art in Dallas while working on his master’s degree. Then he taught art at Longview High School for 26 years. Many of his students won state contests and several have become art teachers. He enjoyed antiques and gave several collections to museums. Mr. Hineman passed away on Saturday, August 14, 2004.