Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Preservation Richardson

US Census of 1860
1860 US Census

"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; they're all that's left you."
-- Paul Simon

That history project that Richardson City Council member Amir Omar has been teasing us with turns out to be an effort to collect and preserve our collective memories of Richardson, Texas. After the jump, Preservation Richardson.

According to its website, "Preservation Richardson is a new non-profit organization dedicated to preserving artifacts, photographs, items, and information from our rich Richardson history. We aim to preserve the memories of past Richardson and create a lasting legacy for the future."

So, dig out those old scrapbooks and shoeboxes of snapshots and get yourself down to the Richardson Public Library on June 5, 2010 from 10 AM to 2 PM for the Inaugural Community Photo Scanning Day. Preservation Richardson "will take your photographs, sports programs, brochures, and other printed material related to Richardson and digitally scan it for preservation and we will catalog it in our online virtual museum."

Just how far back does Richardson history go? The photo above shows a copy of a page from the US Census of 1860 for Precinct No. 5 in Dallas County, Texas. This was thirteen years before the city of Richardson was chartered. The Post Office is still listed as Breckenridge, a settlement near present-day Richland College. Among the names documented in the 1860 census are George Love Blewett and his wife Nancy who had moved to Texas from Warren, Kentucky, seven years earlier. Within two years of arriving in Texas, George and Nancy buried their nine year old daughter Ann in a family plot located on what is now the corner of Arapaho and Grove. Eight other of their children were buried there along with George and Nancy themselves and many of their neighbors. Blewett Cemetery is today recognized with a historical marker.

US Census of 1870
1870 US Census

The US Census of 1870 for Precinct No. 4 of Dallas County documents the family of William Wheeler. Three years later, Wheeler would donate one hundred acres for railroad right-of-way and a town site bounded by what is now North Central Expressway, Greenville Avenue, Greer and Phillips Streets. A few miles to the southeast, the town of Breckenridge, bypassed by the railroad, withered away. The new town on the railroad was named Richardson. The rest, as they say, is history.

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