Among the newest attractions are the longhorn cattle that usually can be seen from a window in the Lone Star Room of the Bed and Breakfast that opened last summer. One Steer, "Big Jake," one bull and three cows are the latest additions to the Pelt Farm Museum located just off FM 421 near Sour Lake.
With the moon and stars as a canopy and the aroma of hundreds of antique roses filling the air, the Pelt Farm Museum began its 1999 season with another show of confidence in the tourism industry. Last summer Ken and Vickie Pelt opened the area's latest bed and breakfast, a circa 1840 Dog Trot Cabin brought in from near Herman, Missouri, and reassembled to provide two separate units for visitors to Southeast Texas.
Hand hewed from Oak logs, the building included large cypress beams from an 1870 Sugar Mill at Franklin, Louisiana in a beamed cathedral ceiling of wide plank sinker log Cypress over 100 years old. Heavy pine doors are made from warehouse beams from New Orleans, Lousiana, are also over a century old.
With distorted handmade glass in the bedrooms and stained glass in the bathroom windows, visitors can spend the night in either the Lone Star Room, furnished with antique furniture in a western theme, or French Country Room, furnished with antique furniture in country French. Both rooms have their own separate private baths and air-conditioning.
The large proch with rocking chairs invite rest and relaxation to the 10-acre site that recently was landscaped by Ecotone Gardens of Kountze.
With over 120 Antique Roses from the Rose Imporium in Independence, Texas, and hundreds of Shasta Daisies, the Pelts have thoughtfully blended in many varieties of Lantana to attract the beautiful butterflies. Many azaleas, other shrubs and flowering plants, along with large old Live Oaks, add to the beauty of the grounds. More than 9,000 Old Chicago bricks are used for walks and flowers beds lined with Laripe and Monkey grass.
Farm animals and the Rural Life Museum are also available for viewing by guests.
The colorful herd of Spanish-Indian horses are direct descendants fo the horses ridden by the Spanish Conquistadors and the American Indians, brought to the new world in the fifteenth century, Pelts' unique herd contains a Medicine Hat, which is the most beautiful and most sacred of all Indian horses. This color pattern is rare with only a few in existence today.
Donkeys have long been the beast of burden for rural people around the world. The spotted donkey seen at Pelt Farm is 48 inches tall and is the type used on small rural farms to plow the family vegetable garden.
Other farm attractions include chickens of several varieties and a garden for growing vegetables. More than 80,000 pounds of moss rock was brought in from the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma to build the garden wall.
Located in the Southeast part of the Big Thicket, the Pelt Farm Museum features in folk art and artifacts the story of rural life in early rural East Texas and South Louisiana.
In 1926, Charlie and Mirtie Pelt purchased 10 acres next to her father, Ben Jacobsen, to build a home on and to farm. Besides subsistence farming, they had wood hogs in the Big Thicket woods and cattle on the open range. Charlie and Mirtie had three sons, Alton, Arnold and Kenneth.
In 1942 Charlie Pelt died. In 1943 the original house burned and was replaced by a small four room house. The present house was built in 1959. Mirtie Pelt died in 1989. After her death the decision was made to turn the house and 10 acres into a Rural Life Museum.
The Museum features a varied and unique collection of folk art painting and other items of rural interest. Folk Art paintings include works of the world famous Clementine Hunger of Melrose Plantation, Louisiana; Rhoda Brady Stokes, Louisiana; Pauline "Old Lady" parker, Texas; Emma Lee Moss, Texas; and Pelt's own art. A special attraction is the beautiful wood relief mural paintings by Allen B. Crochet of Louisiana.
A featured attraction is the life size mounted Piney Woods Rooter, "Beauregard," housed in his own "Hog Heaven" with scenic woods murals by Kountze artist Bryan Welborn. Also life size mounts of Black Bear and White Tail deer are shown.
With the Folk Art Museum, rare animals, beautiful grounds including the butterfly gardens and now the Bed and Breakfast, Pelt Farm Museum has been rightfully call by some, "A little piece of Heaven on earth" to be enjoyed by all.
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