I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Johnny Nelson Katy Heritage Museum
I've visited the Katy Heritage Museum several times—twice many years ago, with my husband and with my mother, and once more recently.
On our most recent visit, my husband and I were amazed to see many additions to the museum. The Katy Heritage Society has a park adjacent to the museum building. Numerous historic homes have been moved to the park. That is also relatively new. I will save that for another post and focus on showcasing the heritage museum solely today.
Katy, Texas, is a small town just west of Houston that sits on 11.26 square miles of space. Much of the land used to be open prairie, and the early residents had a strong history of farming.
Rice farming, in particular, was widespread, and rice dryers are still very much in evidence in Katy and surrounding areas. There are quite a few rice dryers, even in Houston. Most are used for other purposes these days.
History on Display
This Katy Heritage Museum is filled to the brim with old photos on the walls. People keep donating items to the museum from what used to belong to some of the pioneering families. It has quite a large inventory of artifacts and antiques in addition to the photos.
The museum has plenty of space to display all of this, with 9,600 square feet divided up into distinct areas.
When first walking in the smaller room to the front, it has items like old school desks. We spotted such items as old-time metal ice tongs. There was a rice milling board and a vintage coffee grinder and a large wooden coffee bin, among other things. I had never previously seen an old Ironrite Ironer, such as the one on display in this museum.
There were many tools and other artifacts of which I was also unfamiliar. It would be a great place to take kids and teach them what items people used to use in their daily lives routinely. Adults can also learn about history while viewing these many different things on display.
Back Room of the Museum
Large numbers of tractors of various types are on display in the larger room behind the entrance area. This space with high ceilings and massive doors allows the placement of huge pieces of old farming equipment to be installed and put on view.
The tractors are just a sampling of what you will be able to see. On display are also some old and vintage cars and trucks.
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When the pioneer families started planting rice and other crops, some of the old farm equipment was quite primitive. As time passed, the implements became more sophisticated and began to save working hours while harvesting more products.
Massey-Harris Combine Story
One can read many interesting stories while in the museum looking at the equipment. One such story had to do with the Massey-Harris combine.
The workforce was sucked up by the war effort in 1944. Farm equipment was in short supply. Quotas on items were in place with the most vital supplies going to support the war effort.
A deal was struck between the U.S. government and Joe Tucker, who was the V.P. of Massey-Harris USA. Five hundred combines were built, and it was agreed that they would each harvest a set amount of acreage. In a short while, after the combines went into service, well over one million acres had been reaped. Twenty-five million bushels of grains had been collected sparing 1/3rd of man-hours and saving 1/2 million gallons of fuel. It was a resounding success!
One of those original 500 Massey-Harris combines is pictured here.
In May of 2018, this museum now has a new name. It is the Johnny Nelson Katy Heritage Museum in honor of a long-time Katy resident, mayor, and city administrator who did much to promote the opening of this museum.
These photos are just a small sample of what you will be able to view if visiting this jewel of a museum in person. The museum is open from Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. The best part is that admission is free!
The address is 6002 George Bush Drive, Katy, Texas 77493. To see a bit more of this museum, click on the video below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods