Written by Dawn Cobb
A room lined with shelves in Argyle Town Hall could soon serve as Denton County’s first satellite museum.
As part of the donation of her mother’s expansive historic collections on Argyle’s history, Kay Teer sought the expertise of the Office of History and Culture with Denton County to help preserve Yvonne Jenkins’ museum and keep part of it in the community where the former mayor devoted many hours as a resident, volunteer and community leader.
Already, some items line the walls and fill a glass case in the town hall room awaiting the knowledge of preservationists and those adept at displays to help create the right look for the historical collection.
For Town Manager Paul Frederiksen, using space at town hall simply made sense. “I think it’s going to add another dimension to town hall, another point of interest,” he said. “Visitors can learn the history of our town.”
In addition to the pieces now on display, the satellite museum also could serve as a display for traveling exhibits from the large collection of Argyle’s history as well as other Denton County artifacts.
For Peggy Riddle, director of the Office of History and Culture, and Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads, the idea of a satellite museum fits perfectly with what they envision for the entire county.
The idea, Riddle said, is to help people preserve their history – whether family or for an area – with the idea that the county acts as a conduit to help them with preservation and documentation. Then, the artifacts can go back to the community for display.
It’s a concept Kay Teer feels comfortable with as she sells the former museum’s home, the Meadows Building, off Highway 377 and Denton Street. Members of the Meadows family operated a variety of businesses on the premises including: Bill Meadows and Red Allen Sinclair Gas Station and Garage on the south side; a café run by Jewel Meadows on the north side, which is where a cream station to test butter fat was added in the 1930s; Red Allen Electric Shop and Ann Wynn’s Beauty Shop on the northeast corner; a feed grinding mill on the southeast corner outside of the building; and the rest including a feed room, hardware supplies, rope and veterinary supplies and a meat market where Georgia Bell Meadows Allen served as the butcher.
The General Store operated from the 1920s through 1982. Argyle Post Office operated out of the building from the 1920s until the 1950s in the Meadows Grocery until it was moved to the north side of the building in the 1950s.
Jenkins, who served as mayor from 1980-1984 and again from 1991-2001 before she passed at the age of 74 in July 2010 following a lengthy illness, kept items from her research of the town’s namesake as well as many family heirlooms passed down through the generations and the many businesses operating inside the Meadows Building.
Jenkins, who volunteered with the Denton County Historical Commission, created the museum to keep the artifacts close to their origins.
“This was mom’s baby,” Teer said. “It’s really nice to be able to keep Argyle items in Argyle for Argyle people to enjoy and do research.”
Boxes and boxes of items made the trek from the Meadows Building to Denton County’s offices recently and there’s still more to come. Everything from old photographs to the original candy counter at the former grocery store to the original boxes from the town’s first post office will be cataloged and preserved, Riddle said.
During the move, Eads toured the original museum and couldn’t believe the collection he discovered. “It was amazing,” he said, adding that many of the items were documented with scrapbooks of historical references and newspaper clippings. Needle bobbins in their original case to a hand-hewn wooden bed were among the many items inside the Meadows Building.
Argyle Mayor Peggy Krueger couldn’t be more pleased at the idea. “I think this is one of the most exciting things Argyle has done in a long time,” she said. “Hats off to Kay to donate this,” Krueger added “Kay Teer did this all by herself – called the county and talked to Paul. Next thing we know, we have a satellite museum.
“This is priceless,” the mayor said, pointing to the photos documenting a time in Argyle only the longtime residents may recall. “This is the beginning of Argyle and the people.”