In 1884, the building in which the Morton Museum of Cooke County is housed was erected as Gainesville's combination city hall, fire station, and calaboose (jail) - a visible symbol of the city's growing prosperity.
Individuals still remember the thrill when as children they stared transfixed at the shouting firemen, snorting horses, wagons racing out of the stucture to fight a roaring blaze in town. Originally, a two-story brick edifice, the building's bell - housed in the bell tower on top of the second story - rang every night at 9:00 for curfew and every time a fire broke out. But time took its toil on thes grand old structure. After 1918 when the new fire station was constructed (a new city hall and jail already having been erected) this building was utilized as a city warehouse for many years and began to deteriorate. In 1966, plans were developed to demolish it and destruction actually began at the rear of the building. The second story and bell tower had already been removed.
Concerned Gainesville citizens requested that the demolition be halted and that the city take steps to preserve the building as a county historical museum. With the aid of the newly formed Cooke County Heritage Society and a donation from former Gainesville resident Granville C. Morton and his wife Gladys, the Morton Museum of Cooke County opened in December 1968.