Kendrick Religious Museum (Gone)
In 1964, "Shorty" Kendrick was delivering eggs early one winter morning when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Fort Worth. Jesus told Shorty to use his family's hen farm as the location for an Easter pageant. And that's how The Kendrick Religious Pageant started. It grew over the next couple of decades, and at its peak attracted some 5,000 people for the pre-dawn retelling of the life of Christ. By the end of the '70s, the Kendrick family had turned the old chicken house into a museum, with 150 fashion mannequins placed into dioramas illustrating scenes from Adam and Eve to The Resurrection.
We first drove past one evening in 1985, racing down State Highway 6 to view Eastland's Old Rip, The Horned Toad, before dark. It was too late to see the museum. But the photo we took of its main sign -- with a skull-faced glamour mannequin dressed in red riding hood clothes and following a pensive glamour mannequin Jesus as she struggles with the weight of her cross -- haunted us. But over the years, we've had no real opportunity to use the photo, since we hadn't really visited the museum.
So last month, we were raring to see it in between visits to The Creation Evidence Museum and the Underground Missile Silo Bachelor Pad. But the museum wasn't there anymore. It had been abandoned: a holy ghost town. The buildings and stage still exist, a large stone remains to be rolled away. But no dioramas, the facilities are in advanced decay, and no one else is visiting.
Some literature still lists the Kendrick Museum as open. The Dallas Morning News ran a story about "Shorty" in 1998, when he was just 63 years old, and another one in 1999 to announce that the Pageant that year would include a memorial to Shorty's mom, Phyllis, who used to play the piano for the event, but had died at age 85.
The museum was gone. But the sign was still there, The elements have flogged both mannequins, one is missing a hand, and Jesus' rain damped wig covers her face. Now we have two photos, fifteen years apart, and still have no place to put them. Except here.