GC: History and honor prevail in Yorktown

Nestled in DeWitt County, Yorktown offers visitors a world of history including a historical musuem and a Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
  • Yorktown Historical Museum

  • Address: 144 W. Main St., Yorktown Hours: 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and by appointment To reserve the facility or for information about events and the Summer Annual Art Camp, contact Beverly Kerlick Bruns at 361-564-9115 or 361-935-5243.

  • How to donate to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

  • Contact Kenneth Buenger at 361-550-1860 for more information about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Yorktown.

In the late 19th century, the residents of Yorktown built a two-story building with 24-inch walls and barred windows to protect against marauding Native American Indians.

Still resisting the elements in the middle of Yorktown, the building now serves as the Yorktown Historical Museum, showcasing relics from the area.

"All of the artifacts have been donated from families who have lived in the area since 1824," explained Beverly Kerlick Bruns, the president of the Yorktown Historical Society.

The museum has a collection with more than 300 dolls of various sizes and styles donated from the family of Victoria, which has become one of many major attractions of the museum, Bruns said.

"Our mission and goal is to tell the story of Yorktown," she said. "We also do a lot of activities to get the children involved in the museum."

Throughout the year, the museum will host events for children and members of the community including a history of the Easter eggs and a pumpkin-carving in the fall.

In a partnership with the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, the museum will also host an Easter event including an appearance from the Easter bunny and a breakfast for families.

The museum will host a history of eggs from around the world, and some of Yorktown's older residents will talk about what they did for Easter as children, Bruns added.

"The kids will be able to do German decoupage eggs this year, too," she said. "We want to do something a little different than cascarones, and will have waxing and hand-painting in the future. We want to do something different each year. It should be a lot of fun."

In an effort to get children more involved in the museum, Bruns said the museum also hosts an annual art camp the last two weeks of June. The museum offers an art camp with certified teachers in canvas and oil painting, sketching and other art forms.

"We encourage the kids to get involved in the museum and give back to it," she said.



Vietnam Veterans Memorial

For other history buffs, Yorktown is home to a Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

"It's a veteran community, a lot of people come and go," Bruns said. "It's been up for about a year."

The memorial was erected in Yorktown to honor the veterans who served during the Vietnam War and to those who lost their lives in action.

Kenneth Buenger, who served in the Vietnam war as an emergency run specialist, has been an integral part of the memorial's construction, by organizing gun raffles, which cover expenses for the memorial. On Memorial Day, the group will host a formal dedication for the memorial.

"It's in a high-traffic area, and thousands of people get to see it," Buenger said. "We've been told by numerous veterans that we have the best constructed memorial south of Dallas."

Twelve crosses, each representing the soldiers from DeWitt County who lost their lives fighting in the war, stand at the base of nine flagpoles, which include the Texas, American, Prisoner of War/Missing In Action, Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard flags.

The memorial also includes a 1962 UH-1B helicopter, which rests upon a large concrete block that yields a cross dedicated to the thousands of men and women who served in the war.

"Yorktown was chosen for the location of the memorial because of the veterans chapter in DeWitt County," Buenger said. "The land was also donated by the city of Yorktown."