A Houston native’s dream for a museum that highlights one of the county’s gems — the Big Piney River and its historic culture — were outlined Friday night during a meeting to kick off the project.
Larry Dablemont, an outdoors writer and a naturalist during his career, outlined his plans for the structure to be built somewhere on U.S. 63 in the county and would house a collection of items that highlights the importance of the stream to the region.
A Bolivar resident, Dablemont told about 30 gathered that he wanted to preserve the history for future generations to enjoy and the project was a priority for him to accomplish. He spoke of the economic benefits for the community and its merchants. “I’ve never set out to do anything where I fail,” he told those gathered at Savor Grill in Houston.
The HHS graduate said he has a vast collection of items he planned to contribute for exhibit and needed the help of volunteers for the project who would form a board. He said he continues to pick up items for display, including 1920s-era snooker and pool tables used in downtown Houston.
One Houston civic organization has expressed interest in helping secure property. Dablemont said he foresees needing a 1- to 1.5-acre tract.
He showed samples of cut cedar he plans to use in the project and some of the stone available to use in the museum’s construction. He outlined a building that would measure about 40 x 28 foot initially with cedar siding, wood floors and a large fireplace and expressed confidence that between his own contribution and those of others, finances will not be an issue in the museum’s construction. He said there would be no admission.
The meeting was sprinkled with Dablemont’s history with the river, where he spent his childhood and guided canoeists beginning at age 12 for 50 cents an hour while hanging out at Houston’s downtown pool hall. Upon graduation, Dablemont wrote for publications, served as a naturalist and continues to crank out a weekly newspaper column and publishes his books and magazines.
Dablemont said he plans to hold another meeting in April to advance the project and introduce attendees to Fred Hoppe, a Nebraska wildlife sculptor whose work appears across the country and is associated with other museums. He was expected to attend last week’s meeting, but the threat of rain postponed a planned canoe trip in conjunction with the Houston visit.