Fernland Park

Fernland Historical Park and Memory Park

Fernland Historical Park and Museum and Memory Park are two beautiful additions to Montgomery.  They are located next to the Charles B Stewart Library on Bessie Price Owen Street.

 

You can find more information about Fernland Park by going to their web site  www.fernland.org  and Memory Park by going to www.lakeconroerotary.org .  Both these site are beautiful, interesting and well worth a visit.

  

Fernland Historical Park is comprised of a number of historic homes that have been relocated to the City of Montgomery using volunteers, donations and "Four B Funds".  For those that do not know, The State of Texas requires that cities like Montgomery set aside a portion of their sales tax revenues (4(b) funds) for the enhancement of business, tourism and the quality of life for residents. 

The park is a joint venture between Montgomery and Sam Houston State University.  The Blacksmith Cottage, Hulon House, Jardine and Crane Cabins can be viewed now.  The Arnold-Simonton House is still under refurbishment and will house a gift shop and Museum. 

Private group tours are available.

Volunteers and donations are needed as we have several chimneys that need to be rebult and a number of other projects.

       

Memory Park is operated by the Lake Conroe Rotary Club.  The park is full of memorials to friends and relatives!  This is one of the best kept secrets in Montgomery County.

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THE HISTORY OF FERNLAND….

Historians and educators are wrestling with the challenge of preserving a collection of historical buildings – including a hunting lodge used by Sam Houston – in a secluded area of Montgomery County. Fernland, the 40-acre parcel of land donated to Sam Houston State University in 2002, is important to scholars and state historians because it features five historical buildings dating back to the 1820s.

Please visit www.fernland.org

“It’s a secluded site without modern conveniences like water, power and sewer,” said Dr. Patrick Nolan, director of the Sam Houston Museum in Huntsville. “Making it available to the public is a challenge.”

Carroll and May Tharp acquired the first of five historic buildings from Montgomery and Walker Counties in 1974, painstakingly dismantling the structures and moving them to Fernland. Over the years, the buildings were restored to their original condition.

“His (Carroll Tharp) original idea was to use the old buildings for storage,” Nolan said. “In time, Tharp, an architect by trade, realized they were far more valuable as early examples of Texas architecture.”

The most famous structure on the site is Bear Bend, a hunting lodge used by Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas. The two-story, log dog-run building, the largest on the property, was moved from land where Lake Conroe was created and later restored by Tharp.

The buildings, among the oldest confirmed structures in Texas, have been restored and enhanced with period antiques and artifacts dating to their original period of construction.

While the site is available for tour with prior arrangement, SHSU officials are reluctant to encourage tourism, citing security issues and a lack of modern conveniences. The rustic site has been used by filmmakers as a set for western movies, but Nolan noted future cinematic adventures may not be likely.

“There’s a lot of history there and it’s almost entirely made of wood,” he said. “An accidental fire or other mishap would be disastrous.”

University representatives and area historical groups are in discussions regarding a possible way for the grounds to be made more accessible to the public. While officials are concerned about releasing information about Fernland’s location,they are eager to inform the public about the site.

“We’re offering educational talks and presentations about the site and the buildings located there,” said David Martin of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. “It’s an interesting site, rich with Texas history.”

Martin and other members of the group are available to make presentations to area clubs and organizations. For information, visit http://www.lonestarsrt.org/ or call him at (281) 467-8146.

While SHSU officials have not determined how best to manage the Fernland location in the future, tours of the site can be arranged for groups and organizations. Nolan recommends group leaders contact him at (936) 294-1832 for information.

“It’s an important historical site that needs to be accessible by the public,” he said. “We just have to figure out a way to protect it for future generations.