Go to main contentsGo to search barGo to main menu
Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 6:32 AM

DUCK ROOM BRINGS PAST TO LIFE

DUCK ROOM BRINGS PAST TO LIFE

PRESERVING THE STORY

Reminders of Taylor Independent School District’s 140 years of history are alive in a local building.

The Duck Room Museum, located in the old Northside Elementary School at 1004 Dellinger St., contains hundreds of saved items from the school’s past. Multiple rooms are stocked full of old trophies, photos, shirts and yearbooks, which were gained through donations of the community.

Tim Crow, Taylor ISD’s communications and community liaison, said Taylor alumni can increase the Duck Room’s collection.

“We love it when people make donations to the Duck Room,” Crow said. “As relatives pass away or they are cleaning their closets, we love for them to donate those items of memorabilia, rather than throwing them out.”

Crow said the Duck Room was started by Naomi Pasemann, a popular Taylor ISD teacher and counselor, because she was given items of memorabilia and needed a space to put them.

The museum was originally at Old Taylor High before being moved to its current location, which provides more space.

Individuals can see the museum by appointment only. Tours are given by either Crow or Pat Helbert, Duck Room coordinator.

One of the first stops of the tour is a room with old Taylor High School yearbooks and copies of the Cotton Boll, the former student newspaper publication.

The room contains text and pictures dating back as early as the 1910s.

Tour guests are encouraged to carefully flip through the pages of the yearbooks and newspapers to read the past writing.

“There is so much history in the old newspapers,” Crow said. “It’s not just the schools, but students went and got stories in the community as well. To see what life was like during those decades, just go through these old Cotton Bolls. It is just amazing.”

Crow said he personally will come into the room with the printed issues looking for something, and find some other nugget of information that “causes the time to just melt away.”

In the main room of the museum, a desk that belonged to T.H. Johnson, a former superintendent and coach, sits in front of the door. Johnson’s name plate, his portrait and old bells rest on top of the small, wooden desk.

While Johnson is remembered for his achievements coaching football and leading the school district, Crow said he also was helpful in a historian role.

The Taylor ISD legend, who has a school named after him, primarily focused on recording each football season.

Crow said Johnson sent a scrapbook documenting the season in great detail to every player on the team, even after he retired.

“A lot of the history we know today, not just about the schools, but of the town itself, he preserved for us,” Crow said. “He made handmade books with the history of the town and the schools.”

Johnson’s documented information such as when Taylor became the Ducks, how much a principal made each month in 1903 and when additional classrooms were added to now-retired schools.

Throughout the museum’s rooms, athletic achievements from Johnson’s era and other successful moments are present.

Donated letterman jackets hang on a makeshift clothing rack, district championship T-shirts lay folded on shelves and team photos of many sports are pinned to the wall.

One memorable memorabilia item is a full-sized white football, which is said to have been used for the school’s first ever night game. Taylor beat Belton 13-0 in the first game under the lights Oct. 27, 1933.

Crow highlights to visitors Taylor’s rivalry history with Georgetown High School. He said that Taylor had not managed to beat the rival in its history before Coach C. R. Drake arrived, leading fans to think that there was a jinx.

The Ducks’ defeated Georgetown Nov. 11, 1924, which was followed by more victories over the years.

“That was the big rivalry every year,” Crow said. “It happened on Armistice Day and everybody looked forward to that football game.”

Another former Duck to receive a good amount of space is Dicky Moegle, a former National Football League player.

Moegle went on to play for Rice University, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys after graduating from Taylor.

The former Duck was perhaps most known for a play in college that happened 70 years ago this year. In a game against Alabama, Moegle was tackled by an opposing player who came from the sideline and was awarded the touchdown.

Items memorializing Moegle include a jersey, trading cards, many portraits and a concrete structure with the athlete’s hand prints and signature.

Crow said Taylor ISD officials agreed to keep the concrete beam in the Duck Room prior to knowing what it was.

“We didn’t know where they had come from, why he had signed them or what the significance was,” Crow said. “But to have his autograph in concrete and his handprints, they must have had some significance.”

Crow said after a phone call with Moegle and his wife and later receiving help from the community, the district found out that the signatures had been at the bleachers at an old field where CVS Pharmacy is now.

The final stop of the tour includes a massive painting that is the result of an artist’s attempt to capture elements of Taylor’s history in a single frame.

Suzanne Huser drew the portrait inspired by a list of historical people and places in Taylor.

The painting shows the white water tower, the Kolache Shoppe that used to be owned by Irene Bucanek, the railroad tracks, the white elephant statue, the KTHE radio station and the Howard Theater.

The painting is in the filming room, which the district uses occasionally for video interviews.

To schedule a visit to the Duck Room Museum, contact Helbert at [email protected] or email [email protected].

One corner of the Duck Room contains athletics trophies and pictures from the last homecoming game at Memorial Field.
Former alumni have donated items to the Duck Room such as scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and tickets.
Dicky Moegle, a Taylor High School graduate who went on to play in the National Football League, donated several items to the Duck Room Museum such as trading cards, pictures and autographed items.
One of the most prominent items on display at the Duck Room are cheerleading uniforms worn by Taylor High School from previous decades.
Tim Crow, Taylor Independent School District’s communication and community liaison emphasizes how big the high school diploma used to be.

Share
Rate

Taylor Press

Ad
Ad
Ad