WALLISVILLE HERITAGE PARK
WALLISVILLE HERITAGE PARK. Wallisville Heritage Park, in Wallisville, Chambers County, is engaged in the preservation, restoration, and study of the Wallisville Townsite and the El Orcoquisac Archeological District, two sites on the National Register of Historic Places in Texas. In 1979 a private, nonprofit organization named Wallisville Heritage Park was organized by John Middleton and other concerned residents interested in saving the original Wallisville townsite. The property on which the town was situated was purchased by the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the 1960s for the Wallisville Lake project. After a 1973 federal court injunction halted construction on the reservoir, the plans were changed to preserve the old townsite. Heritage Park purchased the town's original 1869 schoolhouse in 1979, restored the building, and relocated it on Middleton's property near Interstate Highway 10. This building served as a museum and headquarters for the organization from December 1979 until May 1983, when Heritage Park constructed a new building nearby and relocated. The new building contained a library and research center, museum, offices, archival storage space, and other features. Heritage Park also acquired other historical structures and moved them to Wallisville, including the 1910 Union Church from Anahuac, the 1915 Eminence Schoolhouse, the William Cooper house, and the Ina and John Wallis House. These buildings, as well as a rebuilt 1886 courthouse and 1895 jail and hanging tower, were to be located in a restored Wallisville Townsite, also known as the Heritage Park. Heritage Park maintains extensive files on the history of the area and its families, towns, and other historical subjects. A large body of research papers dealing with El Orcoquisac, Fort Anahuac, and John Davis Bradburn is located at the Heritage Park, as is an extensive collection of records from Governor Ross S. Sterling. The staff also developed a collection of copy negatives and original photographs from private collections, as well as an oral history collection. The organization sponsored the publication of Chambers County: A Pictorial History in 1988. The book was selected by the Texas Historical Commission for the T. R. Fehrenbach Award for best county history in 1988. The Wallisville Heritage Park had two full-time employees, more than a dozen volunteers, and was visited by more than 4,600 people during 1993.
John C. Britt, Archival Collection of the Wallisville Heritage Park (Baytown: Lee College, 1990). Margaret S. Henson and Kevin Ladd, Chambers County: A Pictorial History (Norfolk, Virginia: Donning, 1988). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.