If local residents went into the Keach Family Library on Saturday afternoon, they may have been greeted by William Pattillo II and his wife Lois Pattillo. The Pattillos were signing up people taking part in the first community history day sponsored by the Robstown Area History Museum. History day was organized by Jonathon Cortez, a Robstown native who returned after earning his bachelor's degree at Brown University. “I'm always looking for personal history and allowing people to connect to that past is really special, especially being from Robstown.”
According to Cortez, about 50 people came to the library and provided 60 to 70 photos and other items for the museum including two frames with multiple photos donated by the daughter of Judge Rojas. Cortez was unsure about when they would hold another collection event. “We're going to wait for a response from the community. A lot of people came in thinking they may not have something important. There was a lot of ambivalence at first but once they saw everything and warmed up to the idea, they saw that what they had actually was valuable.”
Melinda Cortinas brought in a physical photo of her grandparents on their wedding day in 1928 that was scanned into the museum's computer that was set up in one of the meeting rooms at the library. Cortinas also emailed a family photo from 1972 of the same grandparents with all of their children and grandchildren. “It was the first family photo that they had ever taken.” Cortinas was happy to have the opportunity to share her family's history. “I think this is a great idea. I was born and raised here and now my kids can come and see how we have been part of the community.”
One of the items that was donated to the museum was a small photograph dated from 1905. “A lady brought in a small photo of the first house built in Robstown that she had bought at a flea market in Corpus Christi a few years ago,” said Cortez.
Sylvia Buentello and her daughter Victoria donated a photograph of the first brick building built in Robstown. They also included an accompanying 1972 article from the Robstown Record about the building which was a bank that served the community for many decades. Sylvia said, “I'm really excited to provide the items. I had no idea that they would be so valued by the residents of Robstown. It's really amazing to see a younger person come back and contribute to the community to show where we come from.”
Dr. Rumaldo Juarez, stated that the turnout for the event was “...better than expected, people brought in some good stuff.” Cortez was in agreement, “I believe today was really successful, I'm excited to read all of the handwritten stuff people wrote about their items.