MIDLOTHIAN — Within the establishment of Ellis County in 1849 and Midlothian claiming its spot on the map in 1883, the DFW Southern Star has stood the test of time maintaining its rich heritage while adapting to the evolution of change.
Bringing preservation, restoration, and education to the forefront of Midlothian’s view is an international organization known as Questers that’s opening its newest chapter in Midlothian this Friday.
“Questers is about historical preservation,” began Susan Hanson, leader of Quester’s Midlothian chapter. “A Quester is someone who likes to continually educate themselves, and it’s really about saving historical things for future generations and trying to keep history at the local level."
“So it’s there for other people that want to learn and explore our own history, and its open to anyone in Ellis County,” she added.
Since 1956, Questers has spread throughout two providences of Canada, 41 states in the United States, and three Texas chapters near Austin, now adding one in Ellis County.
“We’re a group of people who are passionate about history, preservation, restoration,” affirmed Beth Wipperman, Quester’s Membership Chairman. “I’m actually going to come out and meet everyone this weekend, and I’m looking forward to seeing Midlothian having its own chapter.”
Comprised of versatile outings, programs, and projects, Wipperman recollected other Quester group experiences that left an impact on the town’s they resided in, expecting great things for the new Texas chapter.
“A state group of Questers in Pennsylvania did a project with Civil War flags that were flown by the individual towns, and they had quite a collection of them that were in very bad shape,” Wipperman recounted. “Well, they raised $64,000 to stabilize these flags and save them.”
"Another chapter near Fort Evans army base and a bunch of nonprofits have that have taken it over partnered with a shipwreck association of divers that go off the coast and dive underwater wrecks," she continued.
"So they have this small shipwreck museum that we gave them, and when they brought up an engine from the 1800s, they wanted to put a handle on it so you could crank it and see how it works for local school kids to see. So that Quester's group helped them do that and put it in a case so the kids wouldn’t get their hands in the gears. That’s the kind of things Questers do," Wipperman emphasized.
“You get a group of people together to learn, and they can do something pretty cool. I think Midlothian has that same potential,” she added.
What began as Hanson’s interest in her mother’s own Quester’s chapter in Colorado, soon spurred the idea to start a group in Midlothian.
“It just seemed like a really neat thing to do, and I was shocked that we didn’t have one here in Midlothian or any in Ellis County,” Hanson recalled. “I think the closest one is in Georgetown, so I was surprised to find that out, and I talked to Beth a little bit about starting one, and it took off from there.”
“For what’s to be expected for our first meeting this Friday is some pretty neat things. Beth will be here to help host it, and we’ve got a lady coming who’s going to be doing appraisals, so everybody is allowed to bring one item, and she’ll do an appraisal for it,” she explained. “And we’ll just talk about what Questers is, what they do, and officially name our Midlothian chapter.”
Hanson goes on to explain that traditionally, local chapters are named after a person of significance and influence of the area they served, and encourages those interested in attending to come with a name in mind.
“So we’ll be figuring out an official name for our group, and we’ll also set up a definite time, date, and place for regular meetings,” Hanson acknowledged.
As for the future of the new chapter, Hanson is looking forward to what’s to be expected for the coming year.
“We’ll have meetings where we’ll bring an antique from home and share the story behind it, the historical significance of it, or how you acquired it, and tour historical sights and homes, maybe start some preservation projects, and things like that,” Hanson described.
“I know Friday is not a good day for many people, but for the people that are interested and aren’t able to make the meeting, I would love for them to contact me so I know and can get a headcount and are interested in doing this,” she included. “I’m excited about this group starting, and hopefully we can get enough people that have an interest in this to come and explore with us.”
The Quester’s meeting is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Citizens National Bank’s community room on 310 North Ninth Street, Midlothian. For more information, call Susan Hanson at (817)-691-7909.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer