AUDIE MURPHY/AMERICAN COTTON MUSEUM
When Hunt County elected to create a museum featuring the region’s history, two subjects came to mind – Hunt County native and World War ll hero Audie Murphy and cotton. Murphy, born into a Hunt County sharecropper family in 1925, became one of America’s most decorated soldiers of the Second World War and star of dozens of Hollywood movies. In addition, cotton and its related industries were integral to day-to-day lives of Hunt County citizens during the first part of the 20th century. Greenville, Hunt County seat, was home to the world’s largest inland cotton compress during the heyday of cotton growing in North Central Texas and, today, serves as home to the Audie Murphy war memorial as well as the museum and its grounds.
The museum features extensive exhibits on the region’s cotton industry alongside Hunt County military history, including an engaging exhibition known as the Hall of Heroes dedicated to the memory of the county’s own Murphy and other heroes like Claire Chennault of the Flying Tigers and Dean Hallmark and Nolan Herndon of the Doolittle Raiders. The museum grounds features the restored Ende-Gillard House, built between 1857 and 1859 and considered the oldest surviving residence in Greenville. Nearby, the Hunt County War Memorial features a ten-foot bronze statue of Audie Murphy surrounded by granite blocks honoring the memory of the 271 Hunt County soldiers who died at war during the 20th century. “The true heroes, the real heroes,” Murphy insisted, “are the boys who fought and died, and never will come home.”