BRADY, TX - They say, ‘home is where the heart is.’ While geographically that's about 17-miles away from the town of Brady, the true heart of the Texas can be found, here – where nearly 6,000 Texans call Brady, “home!”
The center of any town, much like the human heart, gives its people life.
From buildings that act more like an artist's canvas, to the antiquated canon proudly displayed on McCulloch County's Courthouse lawn, and all the businesses in between; there is instantly a warmth from the town. But to understand why the heart of Texas is in Brady, one must read-up on its storied past.
“This was a jail. It was built in 1910,” says Kyle Moseley, curator of The Heart of Texas Historical Museum in downtown Brady.
And let's just say he knows more about Brady and McCulloch County arguably better than anyone else.
“Do you see what this is?” he asked holding a green, glass bottle, “there was a fight back in 1944, and the guy cut off the other guy's finger in a knife fight. This is the end of his finger. It's an evidence bottle!”
That bottle, of course, is just one of countless stories in the jail turned museum. Moseley believes even those stories are worth preserving.
“Our history is a very important lesson to learn because how we got to where we are at this point in the realm of worldly things,” adds Moseley, “Our history provides that information for us."
As a natural storyteller, Moseley understands the importance of that we learn from each other. Those other people, can be found in the adjacent Curtis Field Watch Tower on the same property as the museum.
Inside, you'll find stories like, Don Paul.
"Don Paul was the name of one of the guys that got killed here," explains Moseley.
But, it was Don Paul's son., Don Paul, Jr., who picked up the phone and gave Moseley a call two years ago.
Younger Paul discovered that much of his father's story was in the museum. Elder Paul was one-of-21 men who died training fighter pilots in Brady. Younger Paul was just 18-months-old.
77-years to the day later, younger Paul returned to the heart of Texas to discover that the people of Brady had celebrated his father's legacy decades after his passing.
"We've always maintained that plaque and a memorial service dedicated to those guys,” says Moseley, “we never knew who they were; it's just something we've always done."
When younger Paul returned he gifted the museum the American Flag that was given to his mother when his father passed. That flag sits next to the plaque of 21 men.
The town's love for the armed forces can be seen wall-to-wall. Each piece with its own individual story to tell. Elder Paul’s sacrifice for his country, is exactly why Moseley continues to tell his story.
"It's something we have that's in my terms is priceless,” he says, “you can't buy it – it’s not for sale.”
Just around the corner of the museum, sits another piece of history – Hotel Brady. Only this time, this isn't a story from the past; it's a story of the future and one woman's big heart.
"I like this town so much, I bought a little house here."
Meet Heather Myles. She’s a woman of many talents including masonry and plumbing, but also a country music star. She's been living part of her life in Los Angeles, part of her life in Brady.
When life presented Myles with a chance to restore this piece of history it was a musical colleague that sold her on the project. His name was Willie Nelson.
“He says, 'Heather go for it. I think it's a great idea,'" recalls Myles.
She admits there have been challenges and setbacks. Only part of the east wing will likely be ready for Brady’s popular Heart of Texas Country Music Festival, yet, there’s a reason she continues pushing on.
"I've been around the world with my music and met wonderful people,” adds Myles, “but there really is a warmth here that I’ve never felt anywhere else."
And that's the story.
It's the people. Those who died. Those trying to preserve the past. And those working towards its future.
“It's the friendliness here,” says Myles, “I mean it really is the heart of Texas."
Each person helps give this town a distinct heartbeat that truly makes Brady the heart of Texas.
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