Supporters of the Kaufman County Poor Farm hope this Saturday’s vintage garden market provides people with the opportunity to learn about the county’s heritage and see the potential for the site as a living history museum.
Terry Joe Hedrick, the son of one of the poor farm’s superintendents, is set to attend Saturday’s market to tell attendees about his memories of growing up on the farm.
Next to the Vietnam Wall and county’s war memorials, “there’s so much for people to come see in Kaufman,” said Pam Corder, who works for the county and volunteers with the county historical commission.
The county purchased the 408 acres of land for the poor farm in 1881. In 1931, the land was used as a demonstration program, then the site housed the county jail and a prison farm. The jail house, superintendent’s house, a barracks for residents, a former chapel and some barns are still standing, but many need renovation within the next few years, or they will be gone for good, said County Commissioner Mike Hunt, who also volunteers on the site.
Corder said the county has completed a master plan for the site and inventory of the buildings, and those could be the starting point for more renovations to take place on the farm. The master plan includes walking trails and interpretive signs so visitors could learn more about the farm.
“There aren’t many park facilities in Kaufman,” Hunt said, adding the 27 acres that the county owns there could be transformed into much-needed open space for county residents, while still preserving the area’s history.
The vintage garden market will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free and includes children’s activities and a bone exhibit from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.
There will be tours of the old jail, including the “hot box” where prisoners were held in solitary confinement. Vintage tractors, a blacksmith demonstration and old-west re-enactments also will be featured. Vendors will sell art, antiques, gardening supplies, food, signs and vintage items.
The Kaufman County Master Gardener Association will host tours of the vegetable and demonstration gardens. There will be plants for sale and information on local gardening.
The event is sponsored by the gardener association, with the support of the Kaufman County Historical Commission and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
The event will be at the poor farm, located at 3003 S. Washington St.