Morton Museum of Cooke County
Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Friday:
10am to 3pm
Housed in an 1884 building in downtown Gainesville, the Morton Museum possesses a proud past. Opened in 1968 as a result of dedicated citizens wishing to save it from demolition, the building itself is its own best exhibit. Originally erected as Gainesville’s
combination city hall, fire station and calaboose, the preservation and restoration of the structure was made possible by Granville and Gladys Morton.
The museum maintains a photographic collection of material for researchers to utilize. A staff person is available to aid individuals in genealogy research.
Morton Museum of Cooke County was established in 1968 by the Cooke County Heritage Society as a county historical museum.
The building in which the museum is housed was built by the City of Gainesville in 1884 as a city hall, fire station, and calaboose. The second story, in which the city offices were located and the bell tower were removed in the 1930’s. Eventually abandoned and neglected, the building was slated for demolition in 1966.
A number of interested citizens, attracted by the architectural merit and the historic interest of the building, organized the Cooke County Heritage Society, that undertook a campaign to preserve the building for a useful role in the community. The late Mr. Granville C. Morton, Dallas businessman and philanthropist who had been raised in Gainesville, became interested in the project. He and his wife, Gladys, donated funds for renovation of the building.
Incorporated into the architecture of the museum are a number of items of local historic interest. The focal point of the building is the stained-glass skylight, which came from the Victorian home originally built in 1880’s by the late U.S. Senator Joseph Weldon Bailey. It was remodeled by a subsequent owner, Mr. William H Dougherty in the early 1920’s. Mr. and Mrs. Dougherty donated their home to the City of Gainesville as a memorial to their son, Newsome. With wings added, the building served as the Newsome Dougherty Memorial High School until 1958.
Other items from the Bailey-Dougherty home that have been incorporated into the architecture of the building include three stained-glass windows, the wrought iron gates in the archways on the south side of the building, and the three wood panel doors at the rear of the exhibit area.
Other stained-glass windows came from the First United Methodist Church at Denton and Pecan Street, and from the Whaley Memorial Methodist Church located at the corner of Grand and California that was built in 1913 and demolished in 1971.
On the south side of the museum building are two light posts from the city post office which was demolished in 1958. Morton Museum serves a community need by preserving and exhibiting artifacts to stimulate interest in the history of Cooke County and its environs.
Located in the downtown area two blocks south of the Courthouse on the Northeast corner of Dixon and Pecan Streets.
From I-35, exit California Street/SH 51; east to Dixon, then south 2 blocks.
From Hwy. 82E, Exit Dixon Street; south to downtown Gainesville to 210 South Dixon.
From Hwy. 82W, exit Grand Avenue/FM372/ south to California Street; west to Dixon street; south 2 blocks.