Welcome to the Museum for East Texas Culture in Reagan Park!

Our History

In the early 1900s, voters in Palestine passed a $100,000 bond issue for a new high school, and selected the newly formed 22-acre Reagan Park for the campus. Fort Worth architects Sanguinet and Staats designed the Tudor-Gothic style, elaborate brick building, two stories tall, positioned on a raised basement. There were originally eight lecture rooms, a library, a gymnasium, laboratories, and an auditorium.

The school opened in 1916, and the first graduating class in 1917 had 38 students. The first faculty consisted on one principal and ten teachers.

The high school became the junior high in 1939. In 1955, the high school was named for John H. Reagan, and served as an elementary school from 1966 to 1976, when the school was closed.

The building was to be demolished because of its condition but was saved by a group of dedicated citizens who did not want to lose such a historical part of the city. The building was renovated and turned into a museum, which opened its doors in 1982 for the first weekend of the Dogwood Trails Celebration.

The marvelous old high school is now the depository for the historical treasures of Palestine and Anderson County.

The museum is a labor of love by numerous volunteers and faithful members. You can become a museum member for as little as $25 per year for the entire family. Call (903)-723-1914 or stop by the museum office on the first floor to become a member.

The Museum for East Texas Culture is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Your membership or donation is tax deductible.