The John C. Sjolander House was moved from Cedar Bayou in 2013 during Preservation Month (May) to the Republic of Texas Plaza (below) for restoration and preservation.

By Trevia W. Beverly

While May is designated as Preservation Month, the Baytown Historical Preservation Association celebrates preservation year-round. 

Preservation activities also mean encouraging a love of history. There are two ways to learn history. One is to read the works of historians, and the other is to read what people who were there had to say.

“Boring” was the single most frequent word used to describe experience in a history classroom. But American history is anything but! Without a history education, many would not have found a passion for the past. The story of America and the story of your local environment is far from boring. History can be fun, relevant, and engaging— if you are a student, begin by asking your history teacher why they teach it and what their favorite part of it is.

The BHPA offers several venues for preserving history through its annual A Taste of History, Saturday History Lecture Series, and guided tours along with the restoration and preservation of the one-room Wooster Common School District No. 38 and three homes of early area residents. During the 2018-2019 school year costumed docents hosted almost 2,000 students from area schools in addition to adult groups. The BHPA is also active in the Texas Historical Commission’s historical marker program.

Still in the restoration process are the 1898 Bert Brown and 1910 John Celestine Sjolander homes that the BHPA hopes to have open for tours in the near future. The Wooster School and 1910 Brown-McKay House are open to the public during special events and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month except for the month of April and on holiday weekends or in inclement weather. Special group tours can be arranged by calling 281-421-2099 or emailing info@baytownhistory.org.

When we lose the places where history happened, we can never replace them. Preservation is the key, and the BHPA’s efforts depend on the support they receive from its members and other individuals as well as contributions from corporate donors. 

The BHPA is a nonprofit organization that operates Baytown’s Living History Museum at the Republic of Texas Plaza at 5117 North Main Street, and their mailing address is P.O. Box 1244, Baytown, Texas 77522-1244. To learn more about the BHPA and its activities visit their website at www.baytownhistory.org.

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