City of Arlington Dedicates Geraldine Mills Heritage Place at Fielder Museum in Honor of One of City’s Beloved Historians
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on April 22, 2022, April 22, 2022

Geraldine Mills Heritage Place Dedication

On Thursday, the City of Arlington dedicated the grounds at the Fielder Museum in honor of one of the community’s long-serving volunteers and beloved historians, Geraldine Nash Mills.

The dedication ceremony, attended by current and former City Council members, county elected officials, and numerous family members and friends, was held on the lawn of the Fielder Museum. Mill’s work to preserve and celebrate our history is one of the many reasons she is the seventh of 11 trailblazers, civic leaders and faith leaders tapped by the City’s Honorary Naming Recognition Task Force to be recognized for their service or their contributions to the city. The Fielder Museum at Geraldine Mills Heritage Place is located at 1616 W. Abram St.

Mills began volunteering for the Arlington Historical Society in 1996, and there she said she found her true calling. She worked her way up from volunteer to president and, for the past 22 years, Mills has been the director of the Arlington Historical Society and the Fielder Museum.

“Geraldine is the first person to remind us that we need to understand where we have been to understand where we are today, to know where we are going in the future. She is a stalwart in the amazing history of our city to remind us of our humble beginnings, to remind of what is it that makes Arlington different than any other city,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers, who served as chair of the Honorary Naming Recognition Task Force.

“Geraldine Mills, on every project she has worked on, she’s been the voice of reason. The voice to say ‘Stop. Let’s not just honor a cemetery, lets honor the individuals whose voices need to be heard. Let us be the voice of the voiceless. Let us speak their words to the future.’ That is who Geraldine Mills has been. She is the voice that reminds each and every one of us that Arlington was built on years of blood, sweat and tears and the endeavors of the those in the past. None of us who stand here today, or who will stand here in the future, are alone because we have that ancestry to stand on.”

The Fielder House, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2014, has been home to the Fielder Museum, the Arlington Historical Society and the Arlington Preservation Foundation since 1980s. The exhibits showcase the rich history of the city through newspapers and books, photographs, maps and many interesting physical items from past events and businesses.

“If you haven’t had a chance to walk through and look at everything in here and, more importantly, get that private Geraldine tour, you are really missing out. There is nothing like walking through this building with Geraldine telling you about the stories behind everything in here,” Mayor Jim Ross said. “Our future is dependent upon how well we can preserve the great history of Arlington. With Geraldine’s work and what she has done for this city, our future is bright. We all owe her a great deal of gratitude.”

A lifelong Arlington resident, Mills has been active in the community in a variety of roles for over 60 years. She began school at Southside Elementary School and was a member of the Arlington High School Class of 1959. She then studied geology at Arlington State College (now The University of Texas at Arlington). She married her husband, James Mills, in 1959. Together, they raised four children in Arlington.

During her many years with the Arlington Historical Society, Mills has had a front row seat to all things Arlington and has been relentless in preserving the artifacts of her hometown of more than 80 years. She is quoted on the plaque that will be on display at the Fielder Museum for generations to come: "Before you go anywhere, you have to know where you came from."

“This is such an honor, but it is not something I was working towards. I’ve enjoyed my time out here so much and I’m going to continue to do so as long as it is fun. I feel like I’m making a difference,” said Mills, who was cheered on by her husband James, their children, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “This is the cherry on the sundae. Its special to me, but it something I really wish my mom was here to see.”

Mills has served in several other community service roles, including as President of the Arlington Garden Club, member of the City’s Futures 2025 Committee in 2003, and member of the Landmark Preservation Commission from 2015 to 2019 and from 2021 to 2023.

For her dedication and hard work Geraldine has been honored with many awards. These include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Woman of the Year in 2000, the Webb Community Builders Award in 2009, the William Jary Award from the Tarrant County Historical Commission in 2010, the Arlington High School Distinguished Colt Alumni Award in 2011, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Community Award in 2020.

She was also honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the City of Arlington’s Fourth of July Parade in 2014.

Event photos in the included slideshow are courtesy of Photos by Daniel T. Pope, Roaring Good Photography.

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