The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, a component of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, held a grand opening of the newly restored Hull-Daisetta Rotary Building in the spring and offers an ongoing exhibit depicting the history of Rotary in the area.
Built by the Rotary Club of Hull-Daisetta in about 1930, this is one of the first and only buildings constructed and owned by a Rotary club and one of several historic buildings preserved on the grounds of the Sam Houston Center. The facility has recently been restored and will now be open to the public as a museum documenting the history of Southeast Texas Rotary clubs.
Chartered in 1926 when an oil boom was bringing people to the region, the Hull-Daisetta Rotary Club met in various locations around Hull for the first few years of its existence. A May 1932 article in The Rotarian described the building as “a log cabin, built, in part, by extra fifty-cent fees at weekly luncheon sessions.” The building’s unusual six-sided structure mimics the design of the Rotary International symbol, the wheel. Perhaps in part because of the cozy home-like setting, with a fireplace and kitchenette, the local residents also used the cabin for celebrations and special events. After the club disbanded in 1982, ownership changed hands and the condition of the building deteriorated over time.
In 2006, the community set out on a mission to recover the building and preserve its legacy in a historical context. Several individuals and organizations worked to move the structure to its current site and support its renovation. Many of the artifacts featured in the exhibit were recovered from the original Hull-Daisetta Rotary Building and are on display along with archival materials from the Sam Houston Center’s collections. The restored structure creates the ideal setting to reflect upon the mission of Rotary to inspire friendship and improve communities through selfless service.
The grand opening was held on April 30 and included a reception and a special program in the Jean and Price Daniel Home. Guests had the opportunity to view both the Rotary Building permanent exhibit and the traveling exhibit Not Alone: Working Together in the Fight Against Human Trafficking, produced by the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
The celebration marked the culmination of the decade-long effort to refurbish and open to the public this historic building. Those interested in visiting the site may learn more about the hours and location here https://www.tsl.texas.gov/shc or by contacting the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center by phone (936) 336-8821 or email SamHoustonCenter@tsl.texas.gov.
The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center is a component of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s Archives and Information Services Division and serves as the official regional historical resource depository for the 10 southeast Texas counties of Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto and Tyler. The Center’s primary mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to historically significant state and local government records and publications of the designated region and secondarily to serve as a library of Texana and genealogical resources. Through its collections, historic buildings, and educational exhibits and initiatives, it also honors the distinguished public service of former governors, organizations and citizens of the Atascosito District.
For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/shc.