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The Heermann Store stands as one of the few surviving examples of the commercial buildings of rural south Texas. It has served multiple functions throughout its history. During the first few years after its construction, this building was a combination general store, post office, and residence (1892 to 1896). As a general store and post office, it would have served the community of Oak Island, with an estimated population of 600 agriculturalists scattered throughout the area. The building later served as a residence for farmers (ca. 1910 to 1939), and between 1945 and 1970, possibly a support building for a cotton gin. In addition to the main building, the Heermann Store site also includes ruins of an historic building reported to have been a saloon, and possibly at one time a gristmill. The saloon likely operated sometime between 1910 and 1920. The overall property may have been the site of commercial activities serving the Oak Island community for much of the time between 1892 and 1920. Rural general stores throughout this area were often short-lived business ventures, and many of them were abandoned after they ceased to be stores. The Heermann store demonstrates the early rural commercial building’s inherent adaptive characteristics. (Source: HABS report)
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Joseph Henry Polley and his wife Mary Bailey Polley, the builders of this house, are Old 300’s, the first settlers...