FROM SEED TO BOLL
Texas communities across the state share a lot of cotton farming history. You can find it in almost every part of the countryside. But the Independence Trail Region town of Burton, a small rural German community established in 1870, is the only location to boast operating the oldest cotton gin in America. The Burton Farmers Gin, built in 1914, features a vintage 16-ton Bessemer Type IV diesel oil internal combustion engine that proves its staying power every year at the annual Cotton Gin Festival. The gin has been designated a National Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has secured a Texas Historic Landmark designation from the Texas Historical Commission. And, yes, it can still gin and bale cotton like the best of them. The Burton Cotton Gin & Museum also sponsors a robust schedule of events including folk life demonstrations, auctions, an antique tractor and engine display, barn dances, and the annual Cotton Gin Festival. The museum features the gin, Lady “B” (the engine, not the rap star), the cotton warehouse, interpretive exhibitions and historical archive, and a gift store where heritage travelers can pick up a gin souvenir made from cotton (of course!).
Watch our The First Texas Germans video to learn more about German Texan cultural heritage in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in our German Texans mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. Download the app for more videos and travel information:
Texas Cotton Gin & Museum
Adults $6, Students: $4 Students. Under age 5: Free
Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Guided tours: Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.