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William Wheeler house, Victoria, TX, photograph by Tom Prather. Optional: This image of an elegant Victorian house is included in The Way Things Were: Texas Settlers and Their Buildings, 1860’s-1930’s, a photographic exhibition from Humanities Texas. It is an example of the structures built by Texas settlers to memorialize their accomplishments and success. The exhibition can be seen at the Longview Public Library.

The Longview Public Library will help mark the city’s sesquicentennial by offering perspective.

Monday through Feb. 9, the library will host a Humanities Texas traveling exhibit, “The Way Things Were: Texas Settlers and Their Buildings, 1860s–1930s.” The exhibit is offered with the help of the Friends of the Longview Public Library.

The exhibit is the first in a series of events hosted by various organizations marking Longview’s 150th birthday.

“This time period covers when Longview began as a city in 1870,” said library Director Jennifer Eldridge. “We wanted to show a retrospective of how cities in Texas compared to Longview’s beginnings.”

Founded in 1973, Humanities Texas is one of 56 state or jurisdictional affiliates of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The nonprofit, educational organization’s website says its programs support education, libraries and museums.

“Our programs strengthen Texas communities by cultivating the knowledge and judgment that representative democracy demands of its citizens,” the website says. “These programs also contribute to Texas’s thriving economy, culture, and civic life.”

“The Way Things Were” is described as a “pictorial essay” on the Humanities Texas website.

“’The Way Things Were: Texas Settlers and Their Buildings, 1860s–1930s’ looks at the early Texas buildings for information about settlers’s visions of community and progress and their accommodation to the physical demands and economic realities of everyday life,” the description says, adding that the exhibit tells about “family and community life of Texas settlers as reflected in old buildings....”

“Print resources that accompany the exhibit help audiences explore our cultural heritage, modern attitudes toward the past and our duty to future generations,” information about the exhibit says.

Panels in the display feature: log houses and dogtrots; farm homes and barns; country school houses; outdoor churches; stone churches; country stores; failed banks; towns; town square; main street; symbols of prosperity; and courthouses.

The exhibit is 90 feet long, so it will be divided up for display in a couple of different places at the Longview Public Library, Eldridge said.

The library’s focus in bringing the exhibit to Longview is to connect this city’s past with a look at how other communities began, so people can see what “settlers really saw when we were back in that time,” Eldridge said.

The library also is contributing to the city’s sesquicentennial celebration with its Longview 150 Stories Podcast, with recordings of people talking about their recollections of life in Longview. The library is still seeking participants willing to share their stories. For more information, visit www.longviewtexas.gov/3599/Longview-150-Stories. The library also will participate in the Junior League of Longview’s Longview 150 Passports program. Planned for March 7-March 21, children in preschool through elementary school will visit participating organizations “to learn and engage in our history,” says online information about the program. The children’s boarding pass booklet will be punched at each location, mostly in the downtown Longview area, and participants will be entered into a drawing for prizes. Eldridge said the library has several corresponding events planned the week of March 9-13, which is the week of spring break for many area schools.

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