Teen Time Trips at Coppell Heritage Park
by Jane Moore
by Jane Moore
Coppell High School ninth grader Alyssa Gray time travels to the 1960s almost every weekend at Coppell’s Heritage Park.
Gray, a student at CHS Ninth Grade Campus, can be found most Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wilson house—the newest building open to visitors at Heritage Park in Old Town. Her parents, Leslie and Adam Gray, drop her off with her portable turntable and record albums from the 60s—the general era represented by the home of the Wilson family, who donated the land for Heritage Park. The house recently opened following the death last year of Pete Wilson, a member of the first graduating class of CHS, where for decades he was theater director. He was also active in Coppell’s community theater and longtime president of the historical society.
Interest in midcentury history, fashion and music makes the Wilson house the perfect Saturday morning hangout for Gray, who is fascinated with all the things the Wilsons’ kept.
“I see something new every time I walk through,” she said. Her favorite items include the vinyl record collection and the old CHS letter jackets, plus the vintage TV and refrigerator. There are even yearbooks from the early 1960s, when Coppell students from elementary to high school were featured.
“The whole city was in there,” said Gray. “If people knew how much was in here, they’d want to come see for themselves.”
Gray, who sometimes dresses in period clothing on Saturdays, said she discovered Heritage Park while visiting historical markers around Coppell.
“I wanted to see if I could volunteer because I thought it was cool.” she said, adding she likes the way visitors are free to get up close and personal with items in all the buildings.
“One thing I do find cool about the society is you can actually walk through and look at things.”
She speculated that most of her peers don’t even know about Heritage Park.
“I think a lot of them would say, ‘Wait—we have a historical society?’”
The historical society is determined to change that. Planning is underway for Pioneer Day on October 15, with a free petting farm, vintage games and activities, plus debut of a new expanded gift shop inside the Minyard’s Grocery. Heritage Park will host its first holiday event in December, with period decorations and music in each building. The society is also working to get museum status with the state of Texas for all of Heritage Park, which also includes the 1904 Kirkland House and the 1934 Ihnfeldt House. All buildings are open to visitors for free every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
More information on Coppell Historical Society and Heritage Park is online at coppellhistoricalsociety.org as well as on Facebook and Instagram. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPPELL HISTORICAL SOCIETY, P.O. BOX 1871, COPPELL, TX 75019
The Coppell Historical Society is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization