Historical Abilene wedding dresses on display at the Grace (1874-1950)

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ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- History can be told through many means. A new exhibit at the Grace Museum aims to tell the story of a few prominent Abilene women throughout history by way of their wedding dresses.

one such dress is that of June Estes, maiden name Linn. Her hand made silk dress fills the 1940s spot in the timeline. She and her husband John were married September 1st, 1947 at the Rosebud Texas Church of Christ.

June Estes with her wedding dress (2021)

“Oh it was so hot that day, I was really warm in that heavy satin dress. That’s what I remember.” Says Estes.

June Estes wears the dress on her wedding day (1947)

Upon their marriage June and John Estes returned to finish their schooling at Abilene Christian University. After which they established and ran one of Abilene’s largest and first Dental practice.

The collection begins in 1874 with the Wedding gown of Jane Elizabeth Jones. Her son Percy moved to Abilene in the late 1880s.

“They came to Abilene in the late 1800s and were part of starting the railroad here” Said Grace Museum Curator of history Erika Parker.

June and John Estes cut their wedding cake (1947)

Percy’s daughter Julie “Judy” Matthews helped found the Dodge Jones Foundation. Which has been instrumental in the preservation and development of many historical Abilene properties. More recently the foundation funded the construction of the Dodge Jones Youth Sports Authority.

“So it’s a really great family connection that we have with that dress.” Says Parker.

Each change in style and fabric brings to light a picture of the time period these women lived in and tells story of their lives. In doing so weaving the story of Abilene itself.

“A lot of these women were part of the women’s club, the junior league, part of the Grace Museum.” Parker says.

June herself was an original member of the Abilene Preservation League. Which her daughter now serves on. Fighting to keep the history of Abilene alive.

“I’m just real proud that we’re realizing the importance of our history here” said Estes.


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