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.

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.

Outstanding Citizen – September 2011

Frankie Lee served as Cedar Hill City Secretary for 24 years with more than 30 years of employment with the City, the longest serving employee at the time of her retirement in 2008.  She is a first-hand witness to the growth of Cedar Hill which grew from a population of 6,849 in 1980 to about 46,000 in 2008.

Frankie’s great-grandfather, Newton A. Carrell, and grandfather, John S.A. Carrell settled their families in the Cedar Hill area around 1871.  Newton A. Carrell served as Dallas County Justice of the Peace for several years in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Her parents, James and Faye Carrell, owned and operated a wholesale dairy on 77-acre farm south of town for 24 years, then raised cattle after closing the dairy. James delivered mail for the Cedar Hill Post Office for 22 years.

Frankie is a member of First United Methodist Church of Cedar Hill, where the Carrell family has a long history of service dating back to the Charter Membership of her grandfathers.  Frankie is a member of the Cedar Hill Lions Club, serving on the Board of Directors, former Lion Tamer and long-time Chair of the Annual Pancake Breakfast.  She was the Cedar Hill Lions Club “Grass Roots Lion” for 2007-08 and “Lion of the Year” for 2009-10.  She serves as a Trustee and volunteer for the Cedar Hill Museum of History and is a member of the Texas Track and Field Officials Assoc., helping officiate track and field meets in Texas each year, including the annual Texas Relays at UT.

A 1966 graduate of Cedar Hill High School, Frankie attended UTA and is a graduate of the “Leadership Southwest” class of 1996-97.  She has two daughters, Leslie Lee and Melissa Jett, and three grandsons, Jerod Godwin, James Jett and Grayson Jett.  Frankie’s late husband, Charles Lee, was a building inspector for Cedar Hill many years.

Frankie was an active Member of the Texas Municipal Clerks Assoc., N TX Municipal Clerks Assoc.,and International Institute of Municipal Clerks.  In 2005, she was a Municipal Clerks’ Honor Roll “Honoree.”  She received continuing education in municipal government through these organizations and the Office of Secretary of State as well as the Office of Texas Attorney General.

At her retirement reception, Frankie was presented the City of Cedar Hill Official Seal that hung behind the dais in the old city hall, which she promptly donated to the Cedar Hill Historical Society.  She expressed great pleasure in having an opportunity to serve the citizens of Cedar Hill.   Cedar Hill citizens have been blessed to have Frankie Lee  as a part of the community.

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Our Next Event

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
(Call 214 769-8425)

Now on Display

Charles E. Finsley
Memorial Fossil Exhibit

Friday through Saturday
11 am to 3 pm
by Alan Peters,

Paleontologist Alan Peters with Museum visitor Josh Porter