HALLSVILLE — The past made a comeback on Saturday in Hallsville as the town celebrated its 150th birthday with hundreds of community members and guests during the Hallsville Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Community members got a first hand look of a simpler time when they watched how life was lived 150 years ago by re-enactors at the old town set up across from Hallsville City Hall.
Local Historian Rob Key was in charge of the old town set up and re-enactors and he said Saturday’s turn out was great for the community.
“We had an outstanding turnout today,” Key said. “It was a beautiful day and we had corn shelling and grinding demonstrations, as well as syrup making from squeezing sugar cane. We also had a blacksmith and spinning wheels. We had a Native American who did some tribal dances and talked to the children, educating them about his culture.”
The day kicked off with a parade which included the Hallsville ISD Bobcat Marching Band that is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year as well.
Hallsville resident and owner of Hallsville Florist made a special 8 ft. long birthday cake for all of the guests to have a piece on Saturday at the Gold Hall Community Center.
Members of the Hallsville High School Class of 1979 and 1980 built wooden store fronts to make up a small town, resembling what life would have looked like in Hallsville 150 years ago.
Hallsville Mayor Jesse Casey said the city has purchased the store fronts that were built for the Sesquicentennial and will use them in future Western Days and Light Up the Park events in Hallsville.
“Hallsville was formed when the railroad came through,” Key said on Saturday. “All of the people living at the nearby Fort Crawford settlement moved near the railroad when it was built and that’s how the city of Hallsville was formed.”
Fort Crawford was founded in the 1840s and the city of Hallsville was officially established in 1869.
“We know that the Methodist Church, the post office, and the masonic lodge are the only businesses still in existence today that were around back then,” Key said.
Native American Kenny Garrison was also on hand in Hallsville on Saturday to speak to guests about his tribe’s heritage.
“My people are from the Comanche and Houma tribes,” Garrison said. “I think it’s important for me to get out and teach people of my heritage, as well as learn from others’ cultures. I want to break down those barriers and teach and learn and interact with the children who might not ever get to learn about our culture otherwise.”
Garrison said the Hallsville Sesquicentennial Celebration was a great showing of unity and how East Texans have progressed through the decades.
“A hundred and fifty years ago, my people might not have been welcomed here but look at where we are today,” he said. “This is a great showing of unity. We are all God’s children in the end, regardless of our history. We see all different ethnic groups here today. Times have changed.”