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The Brazos Valley Bucket List - Burton Cotton Gin

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

 

Burton Cotton Gin & Museum

307 North Main Street

Burton, TX

Museum Admission . . . . FREE
Hours (Tues. – Sat.). . . . 10 am – 4 pm

Closed on Mondays and Major Holidays

Cotton Gin Tours – Tour includes presentation on cotton, 20 minute video “Cotton: From Wagon to Finished Bale” and guided tour of historic 1914 Burton Farmers Gin – tour lasts approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Daily (Tues. – Sat.) . . . . 10 am & 2 pm

Tour Fees:

Adults.....$6

Students ....$4

Children Under 5....Free

                

 

The small Washington County town of Burton is proud of its German heritage. But there's something bigger that attracts folks from all over.

Built in 1914, the Burton Cotton Gin is literally the town's biggest attraction.

"We are the official cotton gin museum of Texas. We're the oldest operating cotton gin in America," said museum curator Jerry Moore.

The gin isn't just a designated Texas landmark, it's also a national engineering landmark and is on the national register of historic places.

When you walk in, you can see why. The landmark is living on high cotton when it comes to history.

"I was absolutely surprised that they let us in, we could get up there, we could touch the machinery, we could look at it," said visitor Lauren Bitikofer.

Bitikofer grew up on a wheat farm in Kansas but now the college professor is learning about a different cash crop.

"This is just absolutely fascinating to see the cotton process and the ginning process," said Bitikofer.

Cotton farming has changed with modern times but it's still used for clothing and cotton seed oil is used for products like Crisco. And did you know that money is made of 75 percent cotton. Turns out money doesn't grow on trees, it grows on the ground.

"No matter what your age, you're learning something new that impacts you everyday," said Moore.

The cotton gin still runs off of a 1925 Bessemer diesel engine and it's not the only piece of the gin stuck in time. June 26th, 1914 will always be remembered thanks to the date being etched in the gin's foundation, and the actual cotton gin machines that were installed in the 1930's still have the original artwork on them.

"The technology has certainly changed but the process is identical. That process has not changed since 1793," said Moore.

The Burton Cotton Gin & Museum serves as an incredible reminder of how Texans lived off the land during the turn of the century and how big of a part cotton farmers played in the formation of the Brazos Valley.

"It's just a real part of this area. Well really the whole south," said Bitikofer.

"It's a part of the cultural history. At one time, cotton was the cash crop of Texas. To a certain extent, it still is," said Moore.

Having a cotton picking good time at the oldest operating cotton gin and museum in Burton. A fluffy stop on our Brazos Valley Bucket List.

The Burton Cotton Gin and Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Entrance to the museum is free and to take a tour of the cotton gin will only set you back six of those cotton made dollar bills.


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