Tags: Bush | Legacy | Attracts | Tourists

Bush Legacy Attracts Tourists

Friday, 15 February 2002 12:00 AM

The homes of President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are being preserved in Midland and Odessa. Plans are under way for a visitor center that will direct them to the Bush sites.

Marvin Wynn, president and CEO of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that his office was helping to address the growing demand.

"We have a little visitor center at the chamber because there was no where for them to be helped," he said. "The Petroleum Museum on I-20 is also getting more visitors."

Officials hope the Texas home of not one, but two presidents, will continue to attract more and more tourists. They are planning several projects to build visitor interest.

A $2 million visitor center proposed on I-20 will direct tourists to the Bush sites around Midland and Odessa. "We will feature all the stops, with maps," Wynn said.

Although President Bush considers a home on Ohio Avenue in Midland his boyhood home, the Bush family lived in a half-dozen homes in Midland and Odessa during their years in the oil patch.

The elder Bush, after graduating from Yale University, moved to Odessa in 1948 with wife Barbara and infant George W. to get into the oil business. They lived in the area for about 10 years. George W. later returned to Midland to enter the oil business and met his wife, Laura.

Funds are being raised to renovate the Ohio Avenue boyhood home, and two other homes associated with the Bush years in Midland and Odessa have been acquired by the University of Texas, Permian Basin, at Odessa. On Thursday, the UT System regents approved using 2,500 square feet of land on the Odessa campus as the permanent site for an Odessa home that was occupied at the same time by two future presidents, a rare designation in American history.

"The Bush home is one of three houses to house two presidents in the United States," said W. David Watts, UT-Permian Basin president. "The other is the Adams home in Massachusetts and the George W. Bush home located on Ohio Avenue in Midland. This house will be a wonderful addition to UTPB studies in public leadership."

The Odessa home will be placed near the Presidential Museum at UTPB, where a new $2.5 million building is being constructed, with completion scheduled in May. The museum, founded in 1965, is dedicated to the office of the presidency.

The university was recently given another Bush home, located at 1405 Golf Course Road in Midland, that was the home to President and Mrs. Bush when their twin daughters were born and he made his bid for political office with a run for Congress.

"Being able to locate the Bush Home near the Presidential Museum is a fabulous opportunity for the museum," said Casey Behrends, the museum's executive director. "We are building a new building, and have acquired two homes of presidents (one in Midland and one in Odessa) that we can put exhibits in, and set up for visitors to go into the homes, host tutorials, meet in small groups and actually touch history." Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The homes of President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are being preserved in Midland and Odessa. Plans are under way for a visitor center that will direct them to the Bush sites. Marvin Wynn, president and CEO of the Midland Chamber of Commerce,...
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2002-00-15
Friday, 15 February 2002 12:00 AM
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