Don Freeman Memorial Museum
Paint Rock Street on the Square
Eden, TX 76837
Hours of operation Saturday 10:00 - 5:00 and Sunday 1:00 - 4:00
Contact (325) 869-2211 - City Hall, Monday-Friday
Weekends (325) 869-5074
Lucille Freeman, widow of Don Freeman, purchased the vacant post office building and donated it to the city with the request that the museum be established, in memory of her late husband and local rancher. Through the cooperation of the Spirit of Eden Fund, the Eden Economic Development Corporation, the City of Eden and the Eden Heritage Preservation Association, the museum opened on February 22, 2003.
Mission: To preserve and share with the citizens of Eden, Concho County, and with the traveling public, the history of the area that became Concho County.
The history of Concho County is the history of the Western U. S. in miniature.
In the museum you will see--
Our story begins with the prehistoric mortar stone fields along Brady Creek and the Indian Pictographs on the Concho River bluff. The 1849 Military Expedition crossing the area preceded the roads of the 1860’s and 1870’s made by the U. S. Army traveling to and from the forts surrounding what would become Concho County.
You will see--
Cattlemen discovered good grazing land and established headquarters at the confluence of the Concho and Colorado Rivers. John Chisum, Rich Coffey and a few other hardy souls shared the open range for a few good years, in the late 1860's, before Chisum moved on to New Mexico and two Indian raids in 1871 “swept the range clean” of cattle.
You will see--
County Government was established in 1879 and a town called Paint Rock sprang up to become the county seat. On July 13, 1886, the new Ruffini Brothers-designed courthouse was the scene of a grand ball and supper celebrating the opening. Oscar, living in San Angelo oversaw construction and attended the festivities with some 50 couples.
The museum tells the story of the young men (foreigners, southerners, easterners) eager to make their mark on the wide open range with sheep.
Some turned to cattle when the market dropped. Concho County was fenced into huge pastures by the late 1880’s- gates were few and far between.
Some of the land inside those fences was state land and subject to sale – farmers bought quarter and half sections and moved in with their plows.
In 1882, Fred Ede, an Englishman, had town lots surveyed around a square near a creek, later called Hardin, for John Hardin who lived on his preemption claim before Ede “came to town”. Early pictures of Eden give one an idea of the resourcefulness and individuality of its pioneer citizens.
Eola, Lowake and Millersview became the trade centers for their areas in the early 20th century with schools and churches natural extensions of settlement.
You will see--
The pictures of country schools that dotted the land – houses built by settlers grand and small.
Military service is a natural calling for youngsters that evolves from Concho County’s founding generation. Forty-eight Confederate and 4 Union veterans were living in Concho County in 1910 – including grandparents of General Ira C. Eaker and Col. Earl Rudder of World War II fame. 8 Civil War veterans were still living in the county in 1930. 135 soldiers and sailors served in WWI. To date, the museum has on exhibit military service profiles for 169 Concho County men and women (7 of whom are WWI) who served from the time of WWII to the present.
And don't miss our most recent attraction--
The Concho County Brand mural was dedicated on September 24, 2011 which depicts 36 brands registered in Concho County prior to 1900 by Concho County residents. Six brand names are still represented by descendants living in the county. The mural was commissioned by the Eden Heritage Preservation Association and created by muralist Crystal Goodman. The Mural is located on the north wall of the museum.