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The History of Thurber in 12 Photographs: So Much More Than a "Dirty Place"

by Shae Adams


Last year our blog explored the history of Thurber in twelve objects from the Gordon Center Collection. While we love the artifacts in our Collection, photographs donated by families with Thurber ties far outnumber our 3-dimensional objects. To honor the stories told in those pictures we’re using 2019 to explore our large photograph collection.

We thought we’d start with a photo showing the whole town during its heydey. This 1907 postcard gives us a view of Thurber from the south. Several smokestacks rise up from dirt streets between wooden houses. (Despite having a brick plant in town, Thurber residents never had the luxury of paved roads.) The writer of this postcard apparently held a dim view of the Company owned town: “A mining country. Doesn’t it look like a Dirty Place.”

Perhaps some people might look at this photo and agree with that writer. Others might dismiss it as just another snapshot of a typical rural Texas town at the turn of the century. However, once you …

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