Restoration at the Sam Rayburn House Museum near Bonham honors one of the 20th Century’s most influential Texas politicians.
A plainspoken “man of the people,” Sam Rayburn served 17 of his 48 years in Congress (1912-1961) as Speaker of the House. In 1947, though, Democrats lost the house majority, and Rayburn found himself without his government-provided automobile. His fellow Democratic congressmen—all 142 of them—pitched in $25 each to buy him a shiny black 1947 Cadillac Fleetwood, now restored as the star artifact at Bonham’s Sam Rayburn House Museum.
Mr. Sam built the white, two-story farmhouse in 1916 as a family home and Texas retreat. The house museum reopened in March after a year-long restoration of the home, which now appears as it did in 1961 when Mr. Sam died.
A new exhibit details the restoration of the house, which serves as a time capsule of Rayburn family heirlooms. Now that the car is once again street-worthy, Mr. Sam’s Cadillac will participate in area parades and events. The Sam Rayburn House Museum is at 890 W. TX 56, two miles west of Bonham. Call 903/583-5558; www.visitsamrayburnhouse.com.