By Walt Grayson
The Boler's Inn Museum in Union, Mississippi is just the latest incarnation of the town's oldest building. It's been everything from a Sunday school to a saloon. And the new museum pays homage to all of that and more. Walt Grayson has more in Friday night's look around Mississippi.
Walt: The old building in downtown Union hasn't changed all that much physically since it was built in 1856. It was a residence, then and was a dogtrot, neaning there was no wall there where the front door is, just an open hallway that went all the way through. The hall was filled in so far back nobody remembers. So when the building was restored, the dogtrot wasn't rebuilt.
Boler's Inn has many claims to fame. First and foremost is that it is still here. In spite of it and the town of Union being in the path of Union General Sherman after he adopted his scorched earth policy of dissolving the South's will to continue to wage the Civil War by burning everything in his path until the Confederacy decided to lay down arms. But he didn't burn Union, Mississippi.
Ralph Gordon: Well, according to legend he didn't burn it because of the name of the town. He said we can't burn the town of Union because that's what we're trying to save is the Union.
Walt: That's Ralph Gordon. Among other things he's a Civil War History Buff, a writer and one of the ones in on saving Boler's Inn. In the ensuing years after the war between the states, the building was a stagecoach stop, a newspaper, Sunday School for the Union Presbyterian Church, a saloon for anybody, I guess, and then empty for a time.
It was during that time of disuse that many townsfolk came together to form an organization to save Boler's Inn. Nancy Moore is president of the group and says one thing they had to determine was what to DO with the building once it was saved.
Nancy Moore: And we felt like we could better serve the people by making it a museum. And we want to change the artifacts like twice a year and have people wanting to come in and see what we have.
Walt: The museum tells the pioneer history of the area right now. Changing displays every six months or so might tell different stories in the future. But the main story Boler's Inn tells is of doggedness; the ability to last longer than the elements that would burn it or tear it down or whatever. And of the resolve and commitment friends of the building and of Union and the Union over its lifetime.