PANOLA COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Carthage is a Texas Main Street City, located in Panola County. Its old homes and businesses are being well-preserved, as more and more people realize the importance of preserving the history of the area.
An old jail in Carthage, for instance, houses a museum, operated by the Panola County Historical and Genealogical Society. The old courthouse square is home to the Texas Tea Room and Heritage Museum. And the Hawthorn-Clabaugh-Patterson House is currently the county's chamber of commerce building.
In its post-residential life, the Hawthorn House housed the Tex Ritter Museum, filled with personal memorabilia from the life of "America's most beloved singing cowboy," as Ritter was known. Opening the museum on the upper floor of the house in 1992, Tex Ritter's relatives, especially distant cousin Tommie Ritter Smith, as well as other citizens, have worked tirelessly to preserve not only Tex Ritter's history and contributions to country music, but to include other Texas country musicians, as well.
Click here to see pictures from inside the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame
The Tex Ritter museum moved to a brand new building next door to the Hawthorn House in August of 2003. The Hawthorn House has since then served as the home of Panola County's Chamber of Commerce. The beautiful home is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The friendly folks there will help you plan your tour of the town with plenty of recommendations for places to eat, sightsee, and learn about the history of the lovely old town and its people. The chamber staff can be reached at 903-693-6634, and they are located at 300 W. Panola Street.
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