By Russ McCaskey

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – In the shadows of downtown Dallas, there is a spotlight on history.

“It was just called ‘City Park’ because, would Dallas need more than one park? We have one,” explained Melissa Prycer the Executive Director of Dallas Heritage Village.

Dallas’ first ever city park is home to Dallas Heritage Village – a collection of 21 buildings that tell the story of Texas around the time of statehood.

Gene Helmick-Richardson is one of the many “History Host” on the grounds. He detailed how log cabins were made long ago. “This is a double dove-tale notch,” he said. “Each one of these notches is custom made. They are cut so they can’t slide apart this way and cut again so they can’t slide apart this way. It was a skilled craft.”

Helmick-Richardson loves to talk about life of ordinary Texans in the mid 1800’s, and show kids what life was like back then. He has them do chores — like splitting wood and carrying water.

Downtown Dallas skyscraper being built in shadows of Dallas Heritage Village. Circa 1976. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Downtown Dallas skyscraper being built in shadows of Dallas Heritage Village. Circa 1976. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Dallas Heritage Village started 50 years ago with the Millermore House. It was the largest remaining antebellum home left in Dallas County and it was about to meet the wrecking ball.

“A group of women came together and formed the Dallas County Heritage Society. Then literally stood in front of a bulldozer on February 18, 1966 so a little more than 50 years ago, to save this house,” Prycer said.

The was saved, relocated and is now the cornerstone of 20 acres that was first called “Old City Park.” The name was changed about 10 years ago to better reflect Dallas’ heritage.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

One of the great things about heritage village is, it is hands on. Kids can come into places, like the General Store, and see what life was like in the Texas, pre-civil war.

Old photo’s show how the downtown skyline changed as has Dallas Heritage Village.

Amid all the growth, for 50 years, folks here have made it a priority to preserve the past. A mission they will continue for the next 50 years and beyond.

Prycer said, “We look forward to having a center in the heart of the Cedars neighborhood for many years to come.”

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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