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Goodman LeGrand Museum

When Was The Last Time You Came In?

By Bobby Simmons

When I go to Tyler, I like to take my time getting around. It really is a beautiful city for those who take the time to look. One of my favorite routes takes me down Broadway from North Loop 323 all the way to the hustle and bustle of South Broadway’s retail mecca. Along the way, one of the most noteworthy sites is the Goodman LeGrand House located at 624 N. Broadway, just south of Gentry Parkway, before you enter downtown. Remodeled in 1926 in the Classic Revival-style architecture, the projecting circular porticoes and massive 2-story columns make it an outstanding visual feast for passersby. While it’s certainly an appealing view from the street, like all fine things in life, a closer look is required for a deeper enrichment, experience, and appreciation.

When I asked the museum’s curator, Patricia Heaton, what she would like to let people know about the Goodman, she said “you know, I run into new people all the time and when I tell them where I work, they all tell me they’ve seen it. So I ask them, ‘when was the last time you came in?’ because this place has changed so much over the years with new artifacts, discoveries, and restoration projects most people don’t really know what they’re missing.”

Goodman museum3The word artifact caught my attention immediately. As it turns out, this old house is still revealing pieces that add detail to the story and allow visitors to experience the history of the place for themselves. The most recent find was an oscillating fan made in 1912 and though it’s not a crystal skull, it’s still pretty cool. This item, along with countless others, are now on display in the sprawling 5,000 foot home for your viewing pleasure. What’s especially unique about the collection here at Bonnie Castle (a title bestowed on it by it’s original owner) is that every single item is directly connected to the people that have lived here since it was built in 1859. There’s a lot to be seen from the Civil War era, because the second owner, Tyler teacher F.N. Gary, allowed the house to be used by civilians and soldiers fleeing union advances after New Orleans was sacked in 1862.

Of course, it was after this in 1866, that Dr. Samuel Adams Goodman, a physician, moved from South Carolina to purchase the home from Mr. Gary. The following year in 1867, Goodman’s son, Dr. William Jeffries Goodman, a local doctor and Civil War Major and Chief Surgeon, bought the house from his father and moved in with his new bride, Mary Priscilla Gaston. Their oldest child, Sallie Gertrude Goodman, married James H. LeGrand in October 1893. She and her husband lived there throughout their lives. When Sallie Goodman passed away in 1939, she bequeathed the entire Goodman-LeGrand estate to the City of Tyler. Her instructions were that the home was to be maintained as an historic site and kept open to the public as a museum. Much of what we currently know about the home and its past residents comes from journals kept by Sallie that were also included in the estate. Her diaries recount tales about guests who stayed in the house to escape the dangers of the Civil War, stories of the numerous family trips, and where a lot of the furnishings and artifacts originally came from. The journals also describe several elegant social galas that took place in the home, supper parties and receptions held for Texas state politicians. If you’re looking for good stories, the history of the Goodman offers an ample supply.

goodman museum flower market

As it turns out, Sallie Goodman’s uncle was William Henry Gaston, a founder of the city of Dallas and one of Dallas’ first millionaires. Gaston served as a Captain in the Confederate Army, leading a regiment on battles in Virginia. He was later moved back to Texas to recruit for the regiment and following that was made a purchasing agent until 1865, at which time he was discharged. Gaston is known as one of the most influential people in the development of Dallas, having founded the first permanent bank and donating 80 acres for the Texas State Fair Grounds. Apparently he came to Dallas with 20,000 worth of gold in hand, the origins of which is somewhat of a mystery. This new discovery just goes to show how individual histories can converge in a single place and weave a tapestry of intrigue to be unraveled by posterity and thankfully, the Goodman is not finished with that tapestry just yet and looks to add a new thread to the story in 2014.

The gorgeous Goodman is available for private use such as weddings and private parties.

Additionally, it provides the space for the flower market that’s held on the lush nine acre estate every year in the spring. The flower market has come to be one of Tyler’s favorite annual events, and this year it’s going to be even better. The 2014 event has been officially renamed and revamped. Now named “Rose City Artisan’s and Flower Market,” it will expand on the existing tradition. Heaton was really excited about the possibilities of this event moving forward.

The Flower Market concept has been expanded to an open-air market where various artisans and vendors can sell everything from garden decor, hand-made items like jewelry, home-baked and specialty food items, to bedding plants, herbs, bulbs, produce, wine, and more.

There will also be plenty of live entertainment and concessions.

The two day event will be held Friday and Saturday March 21st and 22nd from 10am to 4pm and is open and free to the public. This event kicks off the first weekend of the Azalea & Spring Flower Trails. This is bound to be only the first of many memorable years.

If you’re an artisan or vendor and would like to showcase your trade, you can get more information at or contact (903) 531-1286.

While this event is sure to be great fun, the Goodman also hosts a “Fine Art” event later in the spring. This event will have a more narrow focus, oriented toward arts such as oil on canvas and sculpture, rather than than assorted crafts.

If you’re looking for a unique piece of American history or if you’re interested in becoming part of the unfolding story of Tyler, the Goodman LeGrand house has much to offer. If you’ve never visited, then don’t pass up the chance to see what you’ve been missing. And to those of you who haven’t visited in a long time, don’t neglect the opportunity to revisit an old story, because sometimes, most of the time, there’s more to the story than you see on the first read.


Dinosaurs are Back at Discovery Science Place!


Return of the Dinosaurs This Summer at Discovery Science Place

Discovery Science Place (DSP) is located at 308 N. Broadway Ave., Downtown Tyler. DSP is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1-5pm, and closed on Mondays. Summer Hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm.

Tickets are $8 for adults (ages 13 and up), $6 for children (ages 2-12), $6 per person for seniors (65 and up), $5 per person for active military (must provide ID), and children under 2 are free. For more info call (903)533-8011 or go to

Return of the Dinosaurs, Coming This Summer!

Come walk among the dinosaurs again as DSP’s celebrates its 25th anniversary! Take your picture riding a Triceratops or braving the jaws of a T-Rex. See two Protoceratops guarding their nest or view the long-necked Apatosaurus. View actual fossils along with animatronic models of the “terrible lizards” of long ago.

“Return of the Dinosaurs” is featured in the DSP Annex building next door to the main museum building. Tickets are purchased at the main museum front desk (under the green portico) and exhibit entry is on Broadway under the blue awning.

“Return of the Dinosaurs” is a separately ticketed exhibit. Ticket prices are: $8 for adults ages: 13 and up, and $6 for children ages: 2-12. Current DSP members get in for 1/2 price ($4 and $3). Children under 2 are free.

You can view actual fossils along with animatronic models of the “terrible lizards” of long ago. The exhibit runs June 9th-August 19th.

Summer Camps at Discovery Science Place

8 weeks of camps are planned, from June 11th-August 10th. Each week has a different theme, and campers are divided into two age groups based on school grade: entering 1st-3rd grade, or for students entering 4th-6th grades. Every camper this summer will also be able to tour the exciting summer 2018 traveling exhibit. Camps are from 10am-4pm each day, and extended programming is available from 7:30am-5:30pm.

The cost is $175 per week per camper with a 10% discount for DSP museum members. Cost includes a snack and all camp materials each day, but campers will need to bring a sack lunch. Camps are:

June 11th-15th: Vex Robotics 1

The Discovery Science Place will fill with the sounds of whirling wheels and motors during this robotics camp. They have upgraded to Vex Robotics and are excited to see campers build claw bots and tackle new challenges! This camp is limited to 15 per class.

June 18th-22nd: Make: Create

Curious makers will want to sign up for this camp! During the week children will learn about the design process, then apply those ideas to bridges, buildings, fog cannons and more.

June 25th-29th: Mad Science

If it bubbles, oozes, or pops, campers will give it a try during this camp. Young camper scientists will make slime, rockets, and more. Campers need to be prepared, because science can be messy!

July 9th-13th: 3D Modeling featuring Minecraft

Everyone loves Minecraft, and campers will put that knowledge to good use by transforming their Minecraft designs from the digital space to the real world using 3D printing technology. This camp is capped at 15 students per class.

July 16th-20th: Vex Robotics II

The Discovery Science Place will fill with the sounds of whirling wheels and motors during robotics camp. They have upgraded to a new robotics system, and are excited to see their campers build claw bots and tackle new challenges. This camp is limited to 15 per class.

July 23rd-27th: 3D Modeling featuring Minecraft II

Everyone loves Minecraft, and will put that knowledge to good use by transforming their Minecraft designs from the digital space to the real world using 3D printing technology. This camp is limited to 15 per class.

July 30th-August 3rd: Take Flight/ Make it Move

This exciting week lets campers explore various forms of flight, from airplanes to rockets, as well as learning the basis of movement and flight. Rockets will launch, planes will glide, cars will loop-de-loop, and more.

August 6th-10th: Kitchen Chemistry

No Summer camp at the DSP would be complete without Kitchen Chemistry week. Nearly all the activities done during this week can be replicated at home with parent help. Campers will make slime, learn about cooking with solar power, and create paint using vegetables and spices.

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Around East Texas

June 22nd-23rd: 10th Annual Tyler Coin Show


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June 22nd-23rd – 10th Annual Tyler Coin Show will be held at Harvey Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. Friday, June 22nd the show will be 12 noon-5pm and Saturday, June 23rd 9am-5pm. There will be coins, currency, tokens, gold and silver on over 50 tables. They will do verbal appraisals and there will be door prizes, educational displays, and more. For more info call (903)570-3136 or email

July 4th (8am-11pm) – Smith County Freedom Ride and Festival 2018 – This free event will feature fireworks, hotdogs, drinks, watermelons, kids, pets, hot-rods and motorcycles, and there is no better way to celebrate the 4th of July on a Wednesday! Come out, celebrate our freedom, and honor all those who serve at this Independence Day festival and ride. Downtown businesses will be open to the public. Public will vote on “Smith County Most Patriotic Ride” and “Smith County Most Patriotic Hotrod” from 12 noon-4pm. The Independence Day Ride will begin at 5pm to the clubhouse to the free firework show at dark. Everyone in the community is welcome to join in on the fun. For more info go to

July 29th (12:30-4:30pm) – Bridal Expo with East Texas Bride focuses exhibitors, bridal fashion presentations, grand prizes, and fabulous fun. This is sponsored by All American Party & Tent Rentals, Complete Weddings & Events East Texas, and Fantasy & Fairytale Floral Designs. There will be grand prize giveaways that include The Landing at Joshua Farms offering a fabulous Saturday Package valued at $4500; Bella Sera Ranch offering a Friday DIY package for 150 guests valued at $2695 (excludes December); Old Omen Guest House “Event Day Free” for 150 guests; Eagle’s Bluff $1800 venue package; Venue 31 Events $1,000 in event rentals; Fantasy & Fairytale Floral Designs offering Floral Package valued at $1,000; Complete East Texas Weddings & Events offering DJ, Video, and Photography Packages; Lisa Gallant Photography Package valued at $1,200; Simply Beautiful Flowers & More a $500 Floral Package; Nichole Beth Photography $500 Bridal Session; The Barn at the Silver Spur Cabin overnight stay. Don’t miss this wonderful summer bridal event. Register for reduced tickets for $8 online and secure your bride bag and your Symbolize It gift card. Tickets at the door are $10. This will be held at Harvey COnvention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler.

Ongoing Events

Hit the Bricks: 2nd Saturday Downtown Tyler (Second Saturday of each month, 12 noon-10pm) – Get out and about on and off the square where Downtown businesses will be offering fun events all day long. There is free parking in the Fair parking garage. Rain or shine, Downtown Tyler will be the place to be every second Saturday. For more info and a full list of events go to or find Hit the Bricks on Facebook. Dates are: May 12th, June 9th, July 14th, August 11th, September 8th, October 13th, November 10th, and December 8th.

Canton First Monday Trade Days Market is held Thursday-Sundays. What started more than a century ago as a flea market has become home to some of the most exciting, cutting-edge home furnishings, antiques, and collectibles that can be found anywhere. For more info call (903)567-6556 or go to Dates are: May 3rd-6th, May 31st-June 3rd, June 28th-July 1st, August 2nd-5th, August 30th-September 2nd, September 27th-30th, November 1st-4th, November 29th-December 2nd.

Free Yoga Saturday (9am-12:30pm) – Every 3rd Saturday of the month, beFree offers a free day of yoga. You don’t have to sign up ahead of time but you can if you’d like to, and there are no catches – just free yoga with the beFree instructors in their beautiful and healing studio space. Check the schedule to choose any class on that day that you will most enjoy at beFree Yoga is located at 212 Old Grande Blvd., Tyler, (903)630-6142,

Every 4th Thursday, April 26th, May 24th, June 28th (6-10pm) – Geek World Paint Night – With all the excitement around games requiring models, Geek World has had a few of the communities best painters offer to lead a free painting night the 4th Thursday of every month. Bring your painting projects and get your questions answered plus learn some new tricks and techniques. This is free to attend and all painting supplies will be 10% off during the event and 20% off special orders. Geek World is located at 410 WSW Loop 323, Tyler, (903)363-9751, Geek World also offers nightly tournaments, game nights, all day Commander games, Friday night magic, and many pre-release sneak peek events.

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Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Set to Perform, August 3rd


Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir set for August 3rd Concert at Oil Palace

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is coming to East Texas for a concert at The Oil Palace on August 13th at 7:30pm.

The 270-member Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is directed by Carol Cymbala, the wife of Pastor Jim Cymbala. Made up mostly of church members without formal vocal training, over the years the choir has received  five Dove Awards and six Grammy Awards. The choir has performed at Billy Graham Crusades and the 2012 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

After nearly thirty years of recordings and live performances, Carol and the choir continue to rely on the Lord for his grace and direction in their ministry. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is a highly unlikely group of people, a mixture of ethnic and economic backgrounds, in the heart of a city synonymous with coldness and decay. Made up of doctors, attorneys and former street people, nurses and ex-crack addicts, the choir is a unique cross section of humanity. Pastor Cymbala explains “None of us would have met if it weren’t for Christ. Our backgrounds are just too diverse. But all of us have one thing in common: we have all been lifted up and changed by the power of Jesus Christ. So the choir sings, not about a mere theological doctrine, but about what has happened to them. It’s not just the lyrics of a song; it’s a reality to each of them.” Starting each rehearsal with prayer reinforces that principle as the choir asks the Lord to bless their music and anoint their songs for the services.

“After the $2 million renovation of The Oil Palace, we made a decision that we were going to broaden the scope of our concerts and events,” Kevin Michael Barbaro, The Oil Palace spokesman, said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to the people of East Texas and will bring in events from around the world that will enhance the lives of the community.”

Tickets start at $15 and will be available at The Oil Palace is located at 10408 TX 61, Tyler, (903)566-2120.

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