On Friday, April 16, 2010, The Texas Collection of the Baylor University Libraries and the Independence Historical Society hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Independence Visitor Center. This official open house celebration included Baylor dignitaries, members of the Independence Historical Society, residents of Independence and the Blue Blazers of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
Independence, Texas -- the original home of Baylor University -- has a special place in the hearts of Texans and all Baylorites. The new Independence Visitor Center occupies the oldest standing structure in the village of Independence. The building was erected by the Mexican government in 1835 and used for legal proceedings by the area alcalde, John P. Coles, a leader of one of Stephen F. Austin's original 300 settler families. Although not constructed of adobe bricks, the building has been historically referred to as the "Adobe House."
Lanella Spinks Gray, a resident of the Village of Independence, member of the Independence Historical Society, and Chair of the Board of Advisors for Baylor University Libraries is excited by the possibilities the new center will create between Baylor and Independence.
"I am hoping the new Independence Visitor Center will afford even more use of the village as a laboratory for Baylor and will help in the preservation efforts of the Independence Historical Society," said Gray.
Another person excited about the new Independence Visitor Center is Tom Charlton, director of The Texas Collection at the Carroll Library. Charlton is looking forward to a continuing close relationship with the Independence Historical Society.
"They have been most generous with their time and interest in this project," Charlton said, "and I know how much Baylor University appreciates the Society's help with the preservation of our history."
The Independence Visitor Center is located at 10270 T.S. Saul Road in Independence, Texas. Those who visit Independence should not only visit the new Visitor Center, but also the Antique Rose Emporium, the Independence Baptist Church, The Texas Baptist Historical Museum, Baylor Park on Windmill Hill, Old Baylor Park on Academy Hill and other historic sites in the Independence area.