Texas Cotton Gin Museum (formerly Burton Cotton Gi...
The mission and purpose of the Burton Cotton Gin and Museum is to create an interpretive museum complex that will (a) preserve the Burton Farmers’ Gin as a representation of the story of cotton farming and processing in the 20th Century, and (b) promote, through the establishment and maintenance of a museum and allied projects, a program that will provide a better understanding and appreciation of the history, heritage and ongoing importance of the cotton industry in Texas and the United States.
UPDATE 2011: On February 10, 2011, the Burton Cotton Gin Museum received official notice of their name change to “Texas Cotton Gin Museum” from the Texas Secretary of State. In June 2009, the 81st Texas State Legislature had designated the museum as the “Official Cotton Gin Museum of Texas.”
The Burton Farmers Gin, built in 1914 by a group of mostly German farmers, is the main structure and key exhibit in this 9-acre museum complex and is acclaimed as the “oldest operating cotton gin in the country.” Cotton grown in the area was ginned until 1974 when the gin closed. With the guidance of the Smithsonian Institution and other experts, volunteers began restoration efforts in the early ’80s and brought the Bessemer Type IV oil engine back to life so that the “Lady B” could once again power the gin during the ginning process. This 16-ton behemoth is recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as the largest internal combustion engine of its vintage still operating in America.
Visitors receive a “hands-on” approach as they are treated to a presentation about cotton and the ginning process through the years. A 20-minute video, “Cotton: From Wagon to Finished Bale,” is offered, along with many exhibits about cotton. The Museum site, located on Southern Pacific Railroad right of way, also includes a gift shop, a Cotton Warehouse containing antique cotton-related farm equipment, and the Otto and Annie Wehring Shoe Shop and Residence, complete with assorted antique shoemaker’s tools. The Texas Cotton Gin Museum is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, closed Sunday, Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Museum is free. Guided tours of the historic 1914 Burton Farmers Gin are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students. Group Tours for 10 or more are available by appointment.
The museum complex is located halfway between Houston and Austin off Hwy. 290 at 307 North Main Street in Burton. Call 979-289-3378, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cottonginmuseum.org for additional information.