Cedar Hill Museum of History

Cedar Street looking west from Main (about 100 years ago)

Where the past meets the present

Cedar Hill, first known as the cedar brakes, was founded around 1846 by a small group of settlers from the Peters Colony. They traveled to the Dallas area of North Texas on horseback and by ox-drawn wagon following trails beaten into existence by Indians, buffalo and explorers. They came seeking a place to build their homes, to socialize, worship and conduct business.

Attracted to the area by its lush natural beauty, the elevation and rocky slopes provided settlers a panoramic lookout and protection from intruders. The area also offered dense forests, rich Blackland soil, abundant creeks and streams, and opportunity.

Our forefathers turned this rugged territory into the thriving city it is today through hard work, ingenuity, foresight and sheer determination — a city steeped in family values, tradition and rich in history. See our page on the City of Cedar Hill website.

If you would like to join the Museum, download our membership application. The Cedar Hill Museum of History meets the first Tuesday of each month at 607 Cedar Street.

See our displays at the Cedar Hill Government Center, the Zula B. Wylie Library, and at the new Babe's Chicken Dinner House.

Quanah Parker and Tribe

Stories of a Comanche Chief – Monday, September 19, 2016 at 7pm at Zula Wylie Library.

Lance Tahmahkera, the great-great grandson of Quanah Parker, tells stories about the history of his family and his Comanche heritage. His parents passed the Comanche traditions to their son and he has been sharing stories about life on the plains for the past 20 years.

Join the Cedar Hill Museum of History in welcoming Lance as  he keeps the Quanah Parker legacy alive.


The Tornado of 1856

 The Tornado of 1856  – Program for Monday, March 14

The Cedar Hill Museum of History board meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 pm.

March’s meeting will feature a program on the tornado of 1856 which almost wiped Cedar Hill off the Earth.  The program will focus on the new bookwritten primarily by Dave and Geri Klauck, members of the Cedar Hill Genealogical Society, “Gone with the Wind, the 1856 Cedar Hill Tornado”.

Guests will meet on Monday, March 14, at the Museum, 607 Cedar Street, at 6:30 p.m.  The program will take place at 7 pm across the street in the Downtown Church of Christ Fellowship Hall, 300 Broad Street.  Refreshments will be served.

All members and visitors are welcome to attend.  Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. 


2016 Heritage Calendars Available “Then and Now”

2016 Heritage Calendar Available for $10.00

The 2016 Heritage Calendar is available for $10.00 at the Museum, 607 Cedar Street in Historic Downtown.  They are also available at Sam’s Pizza and Pasta (next door to the Museum), the Library at 225 Cedar Street, and Krueger Automotive at 301 Hickerson.  

Tornado of 1856 Exhibit

Beginning in March will be an exhibit on the Tornado of 1856.  This merger of two twisters turned most of the village of Cedar Hill into sticks and mud, leaving only 2 structures.  

Cedar Hill Exhibit at Old Red Museum

See and hear the story of Cedar Hill from its early 1840’s origin in the southwest corner of what soon became Dallas County. The exhibit highlights how citizens worked together developing the community and overcoming tragedies.

Developed and installed by the Cedar Hill Historical Society, the exhibit will run from October 26, 2014 through January 25, 2015.

Among the stories featured are the devastating tornado of 1856, the establishment of the railroad in 1882, and unique tales of bank robberies by part of Bonnie & Clyde’s gang during the 1930’s. Also exhibited are some fossils of a rare 60’ swimming sea lizard found by a Cedar Hill farmer in 1933.

The exhibit is on the first floor of the beautifully restored Old Red Courthouse which was constructed in 1892 at 100 S. Houston Street.

Admission to the 1700 square foot gallery is $3. A discount voucher can be purchased for parking under the building for an additional $4. The special exhibit is part of Your Dallas, a series of exhibits coordinated through the Old Red Museum of Dallas County.

Visit the link below for more information.

Additional Info…

Outstanding Citizen

Patricia (Pat) Bateman was born to Dave and Geneva Summers in 1949.  Dave was a plumber in Cedar Hill and volunteer fireman from 1952 until 1984.  Geneva served in the fire auxiliary, owned “Juanita’s Café” in the 1950’s and then cooked for the CHISD Bray Elementary and High School cafeterias for 30 years.  Dave died in 1995 and Geneva in 2000.

In 1952 Pat’s father built their home at 112 S. Main.  She grew up on the town square with all the history and fun of a small town and remembers when the City Hall was built in 1961 across from her home.  She attended Bray Elementary School, Junior High and High School in Cedar Hill which were the only schools in the city.  She attended Mountain View College.  Pat worked from 1968-74 for Fidelity Union Life Insurance- Dallas, Customer Service or “Complaint Lady”.

In 1973 she married Boyd Bateman Jr.  Their daughter Shelly Ann was born in 1974.  Pat served on the PTA board and was room mom for Shelly through 11th grade.  During this time she was active in the First United Methodist Church in Cedar Hill.  Boyd, Shelly and Pat’s parents were also members.  Boyd, Pat and Shelly then became charter members of Christ Cornerstone Church in Cedar Hill.

In 1983, Pat began working for the Cedar Hill Library part time and then part time in Utility Billing working the window and helping customers.  This position became full-time, but since it was a small town she helped with secretary duties for Public Works, Water & Street Dept., Code Enforcement, Asst.City Manager, and Fire Dept., getting knowledge about many things.

 In 1987 she became Secretary to the Asst. City Manager and retired in January, 2012 as Ex. Assistant to Deputy City Manager Greg Porter.    Her husband, Boyd, retired in September, 2012; her daughter, Shelly, has been with Arlington Police Dept. for 13 years.  Pat plans to travel and spend time with her family&friends;.

Outstanding Citizen of the Past

Dorotha (Dot) Haswell Thomas was born in 1912 and grew up in Cedar Hill during a time when Cedar Hill School did not offer the last two years.  Dot rode the bus to Lancaster those two years and on cold days the bus driver would give them a hot brick to put their feet on as there was no heater on the bus.  Dot was raised when electricity was so limited and expensive that you were only allowed to iron on a certain day.  Electricity from Dallas did not come to Cedar Hill until the late 1920’s.

Dot was working the telephone switchboard when Raymond Hamilton, part of Bonnie and Clyde’s gang robbed the bank in 1932.  Postmaster Cathey told her “Call the Sheriff’s Department, the bank’s been robbed.”  She said it excited her to death.

Dot remembers her mother ordering groceries regularly by phone to be delivered to their home.  Most everyone ran a charge account at the local businesses.  Dot and the other youngsters could walk in, get any small item and say charge it and walk out.  When Dot was growing up, the hotel burned that was also the local restaurant and she remembers her mom many times cooking for people that worked for her father.

Dot and her husband, Jay, had two children, Walter and Helen.  During the early years of their marriage Dot and her husband organized the first Cub Scouts in Cedar Hill.  She was the first Den Mother and he the first Cub Scout Master.  Dot called herself a Campfire worker running a camp for about 15 years during the 1950’s and 60’s.

She was an avid gardener and a member of the Super Seeders organization.  Dot was very civic minded.  She was on the first Parks Board and remembers it as 1970 or 71.  “We didn’t have a Constitution or bylaws or anything and I told the Mayor if you want me to stay on the Park Board we had to organize.”  And organized they did from her dining room table, she and Mrs. Tucker and two others studied all the nearby city’s documents, drew up bylaws and handed them to the councilmen and they accepted them.”

Dot predicted the electric car. Since the 40’s and 50’s Dot would voice here opinion even though it wasn’t the fashionable thing to do.  “Oh I’m not a woman’s lib.  I still want my husband to open my car door.  I believe in the fact that a woman can speak her piece when she pleases.  I think we need more women in our government offices because a man can’t see from a woman’s view point and I don’t mean to say it should be all women.  I think it should be a 50-50 thing and I certainly feel we should have a woman on the city council.”

Dot passed away in November, 2011, but will always be remembered for her giving spirit and dedication to children and community.

Outstanding Citizen

Robert Nelson came in to existence August 8, 1930 on Bear Creek Road near I35.  The area now is DeSoto but back then was listed as Cedar Hill.  Robert was the 9th child and the 7th boy from a family of 13.  Five of his brothers served in the military during WWII.  When he was three his family moved near Joe Wilson and Parkerville and at age five they moved to the Tindle home located at the end of Ramsey St.

In 1947, they moved to a brand new home on Hickerson St. that his older brother built for the family.  Robert began school in Cedar Hill in 1936 and graduated in 1948.  He married Virginia Ann (Jinx) Lusk and has two stepsons, six grandchildren and four great grand children.

Robert worked for Sears and the National Battery Co a while before he was employed by Federal Pacific Electric Co. where he was Manufacturing Engineer for 35 years.  The Dallas plant closed and he then worked for American Circuit Breaker in North Carolina for 7 years.  He retired at age 66 and moved back to Texas on Joe Wilson Road.

As a hobby he started doing his Family Tree and has over 3400 names.  His great,great, great grandfather George Nelson died in the battle of the Alamo.  Alexander Hamilton is his first cousin nine times removed.  His great, great, great grandmother Jane Hamilton married his great, great, great grandfather Captain Robert Cooper in South Carolina, ca. 1770.

About 1971 while living in Arlington he started a hobby of Bee Keeping.  In 1974  he moved to Irving to be closer to his FPE job so downsized giving several hives to his brother Vinus and brother-in-law Roy Vincent.  Just prior to his move to North Carolina he gave Vinus the rest of his bees.  Moving back to Texas in 1996 he bought more bees and hives naming the hobby, “Honey From Robert”.  He currently has 10 hives, but has had up to 20 hives at one time in recent years.

In 1998, Robert, Leon Mobley and J.R. Hickman met to have a 50 year class reunion and decided to make it the beginning of an annual school reunion.  In 2000 the 1950 graduating group signed on the project and it has developed into the Annual Cedar Hill 1931-1981 Reunion which meets on the 2nd Saturday in September.  Robert is also actively involved with the Cedar Hill Museum/Historical Society.

Robert is proud of his family heritage and can tell you all about the Cooper’s, Wisdom’s and Nelson’s all the way back.  Cedar Hill is proud to have Robert and his family call Cedar Hill home.

Outstanding Citizen – January 2012

Angela Trevino was born February 22, 1959 in Dallas.  She lived in Irving several years and moved to Cedar Hill thirty years ago.  All five of her daughters attended Cedar Hill Schools.  Angela has been an extremely active community volunteer for 20 years.

  • PTA President, VP and other positions at various schools.
  • President of CHISD Council of PTA’s (presides over area PTA’s)
  • Texas PTA Life Member and PTA National Life Member
  • 2002 Cedar Hill Hometown Hero
  • Cedar Hill ISD Strategic Planning Team Member
  • First recipient of the CHIC Volunteer Appreciation Award
  • 2003 Recipient of Texas Small Business Association Parenting Award from the
  • Cedar Hill Chamber of Commerce(One of five state finalists of 2500 nominees.)
  • Founding Friend and Steering Committee Member of
  • C H ISD Education Foundation, serving as Secretary
  • Charter Member of the Cedar Hill Museum of History
  • Secretary of the Board of Directors of Country Day on the Hill, Inc.
  • Chairman of the Hometown Talent Stage
  • Numerous Campus Advisory Teams
  • Volunteer for the Friends of the Library
  • 2007-Current  Parent Liaison for CHISD

Angela’s daughters are Tara Mata-Hampton, Cassidy, Alanna, Marissa, and Lacey Trevino.  Angela also has four granddaughters:  November White, Abigail Hampton, Grace Hampton & Riley Yarbro.  Angela’s father’s great grandparents were the Holden’s, one of the founding families of Llano, Texas.  Cedar Hill is blessed to have Angela and her family call Cedar Hill home.

Outstanding Citizen – November 2011

W.S. Permenter grew up on a farm in Shelby County, Texas.  In 1946, at the age of 17, he joined the U.S.Army and served in Japan for 18 months, marrying his high school sweetheart, Ann, when he returned home.  Utilizing the G.I. Bill of Rights he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

He taught near Shelbyville for 5 years and in 1956 he and Ann moved to Cedar Hill (population 750) where he taught vocational agriculture and their daughter, Nancy, attended school.

For 11 years he was Ag teacher, then became Middle School Principal for 15 years.  He was well known for his ability to discipline with love.  In 1981 he became District Superintendent, eliminating debt and improving the bond rating.  He retired in 1985 having been with the CHISD 29 years.

He and Ann held many positions with civic groups through the years.  He served as Mayor two terms and he and Ann were founding members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Education Foundation  He developed a good working relationship between the city and CHISD which has continued through the years.

 He and Ann were instrumental in saving many of the historic structures in the town square.  During the 1980-90’s they operated Permenter Real Estate where they found selling Cedar Hill easy as they believed it to be the best place to call home.

W.S. and Ann traveled (mostly by RV) throughout every state of the U.S. and 8 foreign countries before moving to Forest, Virginia to be near their daughter and family.  In 2007 W.S.passed to his reward.  Cedar Hill has indeed been blessed that the Permenter family call Cedar Hill home.

Outstanding Citizen – October 2011

Ann Permenter grew up on a farm in Shelby County, Texas and finished high school at Shelbyville High School in 1946.  She graduated from Meadows-Draughan Business College in Shreveport, La, and worked in Shreveport until W.S. completed his military assignment.  They were married soon after his return.

In 1948 they moved to Huntsville, Texas where W.S. finished college and Ann worked at Texas Prison System in the records department.  She was a “stay at home mom” for a few years before the family moved to Cedar Hill where they daughter, Nancy, attended school.  Ann worked for the Cedar Hill school system for about four years, then for E & E Manufacturing almost 10 years.  She then worked for several accounting firms in Dallas, and with Henry S. Miller Real Estate.  After Nancy left for college, Ann attended Northlake College and received an Associate Degree in Real Estate.  She worked for several realtors before she and W.S. opened Permenter Real Estate.

It was during her studies in real estate that she became ambitious about the restoration of downtown Cedar Hill.  She says this was the most exciting work she was ever associated with.  So many dear friends were as enthusiastic and cooperative in the projects as she and W.S. were, and they were the encouragement needed to get the jobs done.  Ann says after their “next retirement” they traveled by RV throughout America.

Ann’s most appreciated claim to fame (aside from being married to W.S.) is the “Certificate of Commendation for Distinguished Service in the Field of Historic Preservation” awarded to her by the Texas Historical Commission in November 1980.  Ann says this certificate could not have been achieved without the wonderful Cedar Hill citizens.  Though Ann now resides with her daughter in Forest, Virginia she is still considered a most beloved citizen of Cedar Hill whom we we have been dearly blessed to have a part of our community.

Our next event

Stories of a Comanche Chief – Monday, September 19, 2016 at 7pm at Zula Wylie Library



The Cedar Hill Museum of History board meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 pm at 607 Cedar Street. 

Hours and Location

(972) 293-3806

607 Cedar Street
Cedar Hill, Texas 75104
in Historic Downtown

and by appointment

2016 Heritage Calendar

2016 Heritage Calendar available here

2016 Heritage Calendar Available for $10.00

2016 Heritage Calendar Available for $10.00