Cypress Top Historic Park offers a Step Back in Time
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Cypress Top Historic Park
This is a small urban park in Cypress consisting of only 2.4 acres. It is located right off of busy Hempstead Road. The even busier Highway 290 is literally a stone’s throw away. We have passed this little park many times without realizing its significance.
Were it not for the generosity of the grandson of the original owners, this historic park would not exist. Gene Zaboroski and his wife Delphine donated this land, buildings and contents to Harris County in the year 2005. They could easily have made a large sum of money by selling it as this is prime real estate property, but they wished for people to know what life was like back in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Gene’s grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Juergen had their home on this property. There was an addition onto the original home and some of the rooms were occasionally rented out.
The furnishings all relate to earlier times including the wallpaper on the walls. Visitors can see an old wooden ironing board standing next to a vintage Singer treadle sewing machine. Viewing iron bedsteads to hand-carved wooden ones, an old typewriter, a wall unit vintage telephone, a chamber pot to children’s toys…there is that and much more for visitors to see inside of this large home.
Volunteer docents can tell visitors what is original to the house and what is not. Some of the items have been donated by others in the community but they originate from the same time period.
The Juergen family also owned Juergen Hall which was a popular dance hall and gathering place. Today it is used as a community center and people were playing cards on the day of our visit.
Juergen Hall is also used as a Precinct 3 voting location. It is undoubtedly busier than ever now that early voting has started in this year of a Presidential election.
The Juergen General Merchandise Store was left intact with all the items still on the shelves that were for sale at the time of it ceasing operation.
Viewing those items on the shelves reminded me of some of the merchandise I had seen my parents and grandparents utilize decades ago. My grandfather used to have a similar spray can as shown below to use in his garden to ward off insect problems.
Everything a person would need or wish to have was purchased in those old time general stores.
Most women sewed much of the clothing for their families back then. So not only were bolts of cloth available but also sewing patterns, various colored threads on wooden spools and sundry items like needles, hooks and eyes, buttons and more.
Juergen General Merchandise Store was in business for a long time dating back to 1898. Items sold there ranged from really old time items such as the type of crocks in which my grandparents used to make sauerkraut to more modern day items like Right Guard deodorant and Scope mouthwash.
Merchandise was sold that predated electricity to those used after electric service became common. So cast iron skillets and kettles which could have been used over an open fire or wood fired stoves…to electric frying pans and electric clocks…both are intermingled on shelves within the general merchandise store.
Tools of every type description were sold. The volunteer docents can describe the uses of various items from the past to those who may wish to know how they were utilized.
Some items needed no extra explanation.
Naturally food was for sale. Some of it needed refrigeration. A kitchen was situated at the back of the store.
The Juergen’s General Merchandise Store was divided in sections to accommodate a counter top and bar area to the front of the kitchen section.
Patrons could not only pick up necessities on one side of the store, but also relax and visit while having a snack prepared in the kitchen or enjoy a drink. The Juergen family smartly provided many services to the local residents as well as people passing through the area.
Leon’s Barber Shop was one of the buildings that was still in operation after the year 2000. It has since ceased operation and is now a part of the Cypress Top Historic Park.
There is an old Humble Service Station on the property. Inside of the building there is still an odor of oil and other products used when the service station was operational.
After the land had been donated, many volunteer hours went into getting this Precinct 3 Park up and operational. There are still some things to be evaluated and sorted in one of the buildings on the property. A Grist Mill as well as an old tool shed are located here.
There is some vintage farming equipment displayed on the grounds.
A covered pavilion with picnic tables is available on the grounds including a large barbecue grill. Reservations can be made in advance to reserve this space by contacting the Cypress Top Historic Park at 281-357-5324. Restrooms are also on site.
The enterprising Juergens also offered a one room building for rent on this site. This small 13 1/2 by 15 foot building had served a variety of purposes through the years. Probably the most famous person residing there for a time was a vaudevillian actor known as “Blondie Kerr.”
Blondie Kerr’s real name was Heinrich Frederick Kreuger. He was born November 19th, 1873. After his death in 1960, Mr. Kreuger was buried in the Fritsche – Neudorf Cemetery located in Cypress, Texas.
Some 768 items belonging to this retired actor remain in the steam trunk at the foot of the bed inside of this apartment. Pictures of him as well as other artifacts can be viewed inside of this small abode.
Located in a bright yellow train station building at the back of Cypress Top Historic Park is the Cypress Historical Society. It was founded and set up as a non-profit organization back in 2008.
Their mission statement is the following:
“Our mission is to discover, educate, promote, collect, preserve and make available to the public, historical documents and artifacts of the Cypress area.”
For historic or genealogy information related to the Cypress, Texas area, the Darline Roth Research Library is also located in this same building.
In addition to the map above showing Texas and Louisiana Southern Pacific Rail Lines of the time, there is a map showing locations of Cypress Area Dairies of which there were many.
Numerous scrapbooks and school annuals dating back many years are on display. Glassed cases hold many mementos of the past including early childhood books like Dick & Jane. I certainly remember reading them when I was a youngster.
A person can learn many things about the Cypress Area by visiting this urban park. Did you know that Sam Houston and his army camped here prior to their historic battle at San Jacinto? It is true!
The Texas Historical Marker regarding Cypress came into being due to the efforts of the Cypress Historical Society. Reading it informs people about the Native Americans who lived there. Names of the early European settlers, town names, the influence of the railroads on the development of this area and more can be learned.
Cypress Top Historic Park is open daily from 7 in the morning until dusk. Many photographers like taking pictures in this historic location.
But to truly enjoy all there is to see and learn, make sure to visit this park on Tuesdays between the hours of 9AM to 4PM when the museum buildings are open. Volunteers can take you through the structures and describe the life and times of people who used to live and do business there.
The Cypress Historical Society building is open the same hours every Tuesday plus every 3rd Saturday from 11AM to 2PM. Special appointments can be set up in advance. The address is 26026 Hempstead Rd., Cypress, Texas 77429.