Destined to be a museum, a quaint house that was the birthplace and childhood home of the powerful late U.S. Sen. Ralph W. Yarborough was moved Wednesday to Arlie McCain Memorial Park on the western edge of town.
The two-story house originally sat on Old Tyler Road in downtown Chandler.
It was scheduled to be moved a few weeks ago, but the move was delayed until Wednesday by inclement weather and other reasons.
Now that it has been relocated in the city park, Chandler Historical Society plans to refurbish the house and convert it into a museum.
Jim Powell of the society said tentative plans call for creating in the house a genealogy room, a Yarborough history room, two rooms displaying historical items and memorabilia about Chandler and a gift shop.
Historical items have been collected for years, many of them stored at the Chandler library.
Volunteers, including electricians and carpenters, will work on the restoration project, Powell said.
The historical society hopes to have the house fully restored in time for a grand opening in connection with the Pow Wow annual festival in early October, Powell said.
The city participated in the project in an attempt to preserve some of the past, City Administrator Jim Moffeit said earlier.
The exhibit will include information about Yarborough’s accomplishments as a senator, his family, childhood, education and personal life, books and letters he wrote, pictures and other items, Juanita Price of the historical society said earlier.
Yarborough was in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1970, serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee and several other committees, according to biographical information.
He authored several major pieces of legislation, including bills creating Guadalupe Mountains and Padre Island national parks, worked to expand the Cold War GI Bill and authored other bills that enabled millions of students to attend college. He was known as “Mr. Education of the Senate.” Yarborough also led the fight for the Big Thicket National Preserve.
He was assistant attorney general of Texas for about three years and a Texas district judge in Austin for five years. He served in the Army during World War II and practiced law in Austin from 1946 to 1957. Yarborough was born in the house in 1903.
Besides growing up in the house, Yarborough was administered the oath of office in the house in 1959 as a U.S. senator by his father, C. R. Yarborough, then a justice of the peace.
The house initially consisted of two rows of rooms separated by a wide hallway, Powell said, although in later years the Yarborough family made several additions as the family grew.
Currently, Powell said, the downstairs has a living room, three bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room, kitchen and an enclosed back porch. Upstairs is a large room, a bath and a smaller room.