XIT Museum receives Square Grand Piano
The XIT Museum recently received a Square Grand Piano from Ms.Lin Blansit of Austin Texas. Ms.Blansit is the granddaughter of Charlie Hanbury, an early carpenter for the XIT Ranch. Mr. Hanbury’s skills ranged from something as complicated as barn and furniture construction to smaller projects like crating furniture for shipment. The latter eventually led to his obtaining the Square Grand.
As the XIT Ranch began to close its operations in 1912 the Farwell family asked Mr. Hanbury to crate their possessions for shipment to Illinois. As payment for his work Mr. Hanbury was presented the piano which he kept in his home in Channing until 1925 when he moved his family to Dalhart. When Charlie Hanbury passed away in 1972 he left the piano to his granddaughter who would play it for him on her visits to her grandparents. The piano eventually found its way to Austin where Ms. Blansit lives.
Ms. Blansit recently contacted the museum asking if the XIT Museum would be interested in this piano with an XIT past. The museum board whole heartedly agreed to accept the instrument. Last week Director Nick Olson and retired Panhandle Plains History Curator Bill Green traveled to Austin to receive the piano and brought it back on New Year’s Eve.
The piano, which is seven ½ feet wide and four feet deep, was shipped from Steinway and Sons to a customer in New Jersey in 1870 and then made it’s way to Texas. The XIT Museum appreciates the gift from Ms. Blansit which will be displayed in the front lobby. Also, the museum appreciates Greg and Landon Oelke, Will and Sam Allen and Christian Olson for helping to unload and set up the very heavy piano.