History

The Columbia Historical Museum

In 1950 a beautiful bank made of stone and marble was built in West Columbia. It was a building like no other in the area, sitting on a prominent corner in downtown West Columbia. When it became available for sale, Mrs. Emma Womack visited the City Council and described how it could be used for a museum and why it needed to be a museum to showcase Historic West Columbia. There had not had a museum up to that point and, as the First Capital of the Republic of Texas, all agreed one was needed, so the City leased the beautiful, well-located building to the Museum. A Board of Directors was elected, the 501 3 c 3 status was established and the hard work began. Much clean-up and repair was necessary to present this bank/museum to the public.

When citizens realized what was happening, beautiful and important artifacts ranging as far back as the Texas Revolutionary Period were brought to the Museum and it became obvious what was to be the story the Museum wanted to tell. Even papers and documents from the early years were loaned or donated.

The mission statement was written and it gave direction to this group of volunteers. The purpose of the Museum would be to bring better understanding and appreciation of the rich history of West and East Columbia with an emphasis on the families that helped settle and develop this part of Texas, home to many of the original 300 settlers who came up the Brazos with Stephen F. Austin in the first quarter of the 19th century.

Special areas would showcase the five areas of commerce important to West Columbia's early days: the Brazos River with cargo and passenger boats; farming of cotton, cane and rice; ranching; and oil. Displays would reflect the tools, the toys, the weapons, as well as activities and clothes and items such as beautiful dishes and other items necessary for life.

Today, the Museum is still expanding and honors our military, fire departments, doctors, and events important to our area. The recent addition of the Columbia Rosenwald School has brought new pride and significance to our area.