By Karen Borta

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Texas is fiercely proud of its western heritage, but many Texans have no concept of what life was really like for those who braved the wild frontier. For 50 years, the city of Fort Worth has provided a glimpse into that past with its Log Cabin Village…where people can live history.

In the heart of the city, Log Cabin Village is tucked away on two-and-a-half acres between the Fort Worth Zoo and Colonial Country Club. For five decades, the living history museum has quietly educated while it entertained…using historical interpreters to show what life was like for the folks who settled North Texas.

“I think we really do a great job of providing a look at frontier Texas life, and what it was like to live in the 1800’s on the frontier,” says Kelli Pickard, the museum director at Log Cabin Village.

The Village started in the mid 1950’s with an idea by local preservationists to save some of the frontier houses that were rapidly disappearing from the North Texas landscape.

“They talked about the history that was vanishing…that pioneer history. The homes that the pioneers lived in that were deteriorating on farms. Some were being used as bunkhouses…corn cribs. Their history was being lost,” says Pickard.

(credit: logcabinvillage.org)

(credit: logcabinvillage.org)

Six log houses were ultimately moved to the site and furnished with authentic artifacts. Each one displays a different aspect of pioneer life. From the water-powered grist mill to the blacksmith shop and the one-room schoolhouse, there’s a lot for even the youngest North Texans to learn.

Each of the log houses have historical significance. The Parker Cabin, for instance, is the oldest cabin in the village. Built in the 1840’s, it’s also the house where Cynthia Ann Parker was returned 24 years after being kidnapped as a child by Comanche warriors.

But perhaps none of the houses have as much meaning for Pickard as the Pickard Cabin. When the now museum director started working at the village 18 years ago she knew there must be a familial connection. It took years of digging, but in 2015 Pickard discovered that she’s actually related to the family that owned that particular cabin 150 years ago.

“My family came from New York and down through Indiana and into Louisiana and then into Texas. They ended up taking a different path, but we ended up being related. So William Sydney Pickard is my seventh cousin, six times removed. It’s hard to believe, but it’s nice to actually say, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am related to the Pickard cabin,” she says with a laugh.

And as North Texas continues to grow and change, the Log Cabin Village cabins will remain… to serve as a reminder of what once was.

(©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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