Alberta Nettleton was energetic, creative, an organizer, outgoing, forward thinking
very good at matching people with projects they could excel at while contributing
to the preservation of Grapevine's unique history.
Tribute to Alberta Nettleton
by Janis Roberson
While Alberta was President of the Grapevine Garden Club she became aware that the
Cotton Belt Depot was to be demolished. She mobilized the Grapevine Garden Club
and City leaders to move the Depot to Heritage Park at the corner of Ball and Wall
Streets. During this process she realized that the long term management of the Depot
should be done by a historical group so she invited representatives from all the
local ladies clubs in town to her home to discuss the establishment of a Historical
Society as a non-profit corporation and Alberta became the first President in 1974.
After the Depot was moved into place she began soliciting donations of items of
local historical significance to display in the Depot as a museum. The Museum was
kept open weekends by Society volunteers until there were funds to employ the first
docent/curator for the museum.
Her next challenge was fundraising to support the museum and the idea of a fall
festival was born in which the Historical Society operated a Country Store which
sold homemade Ice Cream, cakes and other items to raise funds. This festival began
in Heritage Park with other organizations also joining in to raise funds for their
organizations and later moved to Dove Park as the festival grew. This festival later
became Main Street Days we still celebrate today.
With the area available around the Depot the first City Jail, the old concrete “Calaboose”
was moved from Bartley Street to a location by the Depot in Heritage Park.
In 1976 Alberta heard that the Torian Log Cabin was going to be torn down and again
she mobilized members of the Historical Society to save the cabin on very short
notice. Again the City came through with a site and the Torian Cabin was reconstructed
in Liberty Park on Main Street. This project took real term work led by Dee Barker.
Alberta contacted the Grapevine Sun and convinced them to preserve back issues of
the newspaper by having them microfilmed. Then the Historical Society purchased
the entire set of microfilm and a microfilm reader which they donated to the Grapevine
Public Library so the public could have access to the back issues from 1898 to 1976.
As program chair Alberta had a series of genealogy specialists make presentations
at the monthly meetings after which the Historical Society made a donation to the
Grapevine Public Library to purchase books and magazines on Genealogy to encourage
more research by the community.
She also scheduled an Oral History workshop which in 1981 led to the Oral History
project of recording the memories of teachers about several schools no longer in
existence and was later expanded to other topics as well. The Oral History collection
of 45 tapes is housed in the Grapevine Public Library.
Alberta was very excited when Brent McPherson suggested doing a census of four local
cemeteries and organized the volunteers to assist in documenting the tombstones
and providing an index which is housed in the Genealogy room of the Grapevine Public
While encouraging donations of furniture items to display in the Torian Cabin Alberta
really wanted a quilt for the bed and eventually a local family donated a quilt
top and Alberta organized a group of quilters who met in the home of Catherine Terrill
each Monday afternoon till the quilt was finished and displayed on the bed in the
Torian Cabin. About this same time the two doors were enlarged to the cabin and
glass windows installed so visitors could see the display inside the cabin.
One of the last projects Alberta worked on for the Historical Society was the placement
of the displays for the reopening of the restored Depot in 1994. Alberta served
as President several times, 1st
Vice President, Treasurer
and At-Large on the Historical Society Board for most of the years till she moved
to Dallas in 1995. When funding was needed to get the Grapevine Area History
book published she & Gordon stepped up along with many others to make sure it happened.
Her tireless enthusiasm for history, incredible organization skills, encouraging
cooperation with the City of Grapevine, fundraising ability and working to get a
grant from the CVB to ensure the Museum was open weekends to visitors & residents
has helped make our Museum one of Grapevine’s treasures today and our Society
one we are all proud to be a member of currently. And amazingly this was only one
of the organizations in town she supported and was dedicated to helping them all
excel just as the Grapevine Historical Society has.