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Downtown Tyler, TX

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.


Bibeau in Concert August 25th

Bibeau has a rare Tyler show booked at Click’s Live on Saturday, August 25th with our Louisiana brothers, Anxiety, the mod blues band, Matt Coats Trio and the fantastic female duo from the Dallas area Sweet Chaos (who recently opened for Bowling for Soup). Help break 500 people in attendance! Tickets will be available at the door for the low rock ‘n roll price of $7. Must be 18+ to attend unless accompanied by a parent/legal guardian.

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Upcoming 10th Anniversary Season at Old Firehouse Announced

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The Old Firehouse is an intimate, smoke-free and alcohol-free “coffeehouse” that has made a name for itself by bringing national folk musicians and their all-original music to Edom’s unique listening room and stage. Info can be found at or by calling (903)852-2781.

Concerts are typically scheduled each month from October through April and can be found at, along with links to samples of the music.

For the 2018-19 season, Old Firehouse will once again be offering Season Tickets for all nine Acoustic Music Concerts. By purchasing this season ticket, you will receive: admission for one person to all nine Acoustic Music Concerts, reserved seating of your choice that will remain yours throughout the season, one “bottomless” cup of coffee at each concert, freedom from having to remember to buy concert tickets month-to-month, advance ticket price for all concerts, and 20% discount on concert series merchandise (hats, t-shirts, tote bags, bumper stickers).

The cost per ticket is $111 (includes sales tax). Once the season begins, these tickets may no longer be available. Checks may be made out to “The Old Firehouse” and mailed to: The Old Firehouse, 8241 FM 279, Edom, TX 75754.

If you do not want to purchase season tickets, admission prices for concerts are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and events are on Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30pm with doors opening early so the audience can enjoy coffee and desserts that are always available.

Scheduled this season is:

  • October 20th: Tony Ramey
  • November 10th: BrownRandy & Friends (Neal Katz & Connie Mims)
  • November 24th: Beth Wood
  • December 8th: Terri Hendrix
  • January 19th: Andy Gullahorn
  • February 2nd: Beyond the Pale
  • February 23rd: Tom Kimmel
  • March 23rd: Jacob Johnson
  • April 6th: Edie Carey

If you would like to sponsor any of these concerts, please contact

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Around East Texas

Amy Holden Concert Benefiting Children’s Miracle Network, Aug. 24th


For one night only, east Texas singer-songwriter Amy Holden is set to perform live in concert at Liberty Hall on Friday, August 24th at 8pm.

Amy’s friends, Cole Risner, Meredith Crawford, and Milo Deering are also set to perform.

Fresh off her single release, “Best Time” on Texas Red Dirt Radio, Amy brings a new soulful twang with her style and flavor of upbeat country music to Tyler. Amy, a Nashville and Texas recording artist, has performed from New Zealand to the House of Blues. Bring the whole family to this family-friendly event and be prepared to be thoroughly entertained.

100% of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. This fundraising event is sponsored by Texas Strong Promotions, Fire Dog Records, and Amy Holden Music Group.

Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin, Downtown Tyler. Tickets are available at

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