Individuals still remember the thrill when as children they stared transfixed at the shouting fireman, snorting horses, wagons racing out of the structure 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 it's toll on this grand old structure. After 1918 when the fire station was constructed (a new city hall and jail already having been erected) this building was utilized as a city warehouse for many year 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.