“Yellow Fever Epidemic” exhibit to debut at Wynne Home

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The Yellow Fever Epidemic exhibit will make its debut at The Wynne Home Arts Center on May 2 from 5-7 p.m. and will run through May 6.

The Yellow Fever epidemic of 1867 was one of the most significant medical disasters in Texas history. The disease began in Indiana in June and traveled across Texas through infected mosquitoes and persons.

The disease swept through Huntsville and the surrounding areas, claiming the lives of over 130 citizens, which was approximately 10 percent of the town’s population at the time.

During the 1800s, people believed that the disease was transmitted through airborne particles from person to person. It wasn’t until much later that anyone realized it was spread through mosquitoes.

The first symptoms of yellow fever were headache, body ache, fever, dizziness and nausea. After a few days those symptoms would pass and people would begin to feel better.

Little was it known that the kidneys and liver would rupture. This appeared to make people jaundiced, which produced the yellow coloring, thus the name of the disease, yellow fever. They would then slip into a coma and die only a few days after contracting the disease.

It was not until the first freeze that the mosquitoes were killed off and the epidemic ended.
The Exhibit seeks to portray the significance of the Yellow Fever epidemic in Huntsville, Walker County and East Texas, and how it altered the course of history.

“The Wynne Home exhibitions reflect the art and culture of the area; part of the mission is to share our community heritage,” said Linda Pease, cultural services coordinator at the Wynne Home. “This is a good opportunity to share our collective history.”

The Yellow Fever Epidemic is an important part of the history of the Huntsville area.

The Exhibit will be available May 2 from 5-7 p.m. for the grand opening.

The exhibit will then be open from May 3 to 6 during regular operating hours Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Wynne Home Arts Center is located at 1428 11th Street.

Admission is free, and open to the public.