Heritage Center and Jeffcoat Museum to Close for the Holidays

Vern Stroda

Vern Stroda. Photograph from the Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum collection.

 

 

The Dickinson County Heritage Center and Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum will be closed for the holidays, December 20 through January 1, giving our staff time to celebrate this festive season.

The Heritage Center will reopen on January 2 for normal business, while the Jeffcoat Museum will be open Mondays and Tuesdays starting January 7, and open by appointment all other days.

A Crocodile in Abilene

Bill Jeffcoat

Bill Jeffcoat

Bill Jeffcoat was a lifelong lover of history, and enjoyed sharing stories and people and events in Abilene.  He began sending letters to the editor of the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle newspaper, musing on some of Abilene’s interesting characters of the past.  Below, Jeffcoat reminisces on an Abilene individual who owned a crocodile.

“Francis Duffy started the bowling alley along I-70, and it was an instant success.  His wife ran the restaurant.  Somehow, Duffy bought a small crocodile and kept it in his basement on Vine Street.

“It grew to around ten feet in length.  All the chicken bones and steak bones, left over from the evening, Francis would take home to feed the croc.  In the middle of winter, I asked Duffy if I could watch a feeding.  As we descended the wood basement steps, Duffy said, “Be very careful, as if he is in a mean mood, his jaws can go through two inches of wood.”  The croc was curled up around the hot water tank to keep warm.  He was hungry and his meal was devoured quickly.”