c. 1870 – Whitewright, TX

Added to OHD on 6/9/17   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   26 Comments
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401 W Grand St, Whitewright, TX 75491

  • $174,900
  • 5 Bed
  • 2.5 Bath
  • 5000 Sq Ft
  • 0.5 Ac.
5000 sq. ft. Greek revival styled home built in 1870. Only two owners in its 147 year life and never vacant. This rare find features mitered hard pine wood floors, original woodwork and doors with original hardware, stained glass, beveled windows, double pocket doors on both floors. Beautiful built in cabinets. Exquisite English mahogany carved staircase in entry. Antique light fixtures. Actual working gas fireplaces with wood mantles and two with Italian tile. Modernized with central heat and air in the 1980's, new wiring and plumbing at that time. Although it does need some work, you will not easily find a home like this for sale.
Contact Information
Sandra Bryant, Bryant Real Estate,
(972) 569-7010

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26 Comments on c. 1870 – Whitewright, TX

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11884 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    I suppose this could have started in the 1870’s and had a major 1890’s (ish?) remodel.

    • StevenFStevenF says: 821 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1969 Regency
      Nashville, TN

      yes…if you imagine it without that portico, which seems to be settling more than the main house, the date could be right. It’s another example of a house whose exterior prepared me for an abandoned interior, but is actually quite nicely maintained. That staircase looks as solid as the day it was built.

    • Eric Unhinged says: 1016 comments

      If any part of this house dates back to 1870 it has been so obscured that it is no longer evident. I’m betting that this place is entirely a product of the 1890’s – it is surprisingly intact and a nice early example of the Neoclassical Revival. This example has a full-height entry porch with a lower full-width porch – a subtype of the style which Virginia McAlester describes as “relatively uncommon” and dating to 1895 to 1915 in “A Field Guide to American Architecture”. It is a far cry from Greek Revival as the realtor described it. The built-in with the Gothic arch and spindlework appears to be a recent creation… doesn’t relate to anything else.

  2. EricHtownEricHtown says: 397 comments

    This home is beautiful inside and out. I love the ornamentation added to the dormers. The handrail for the staircase is one of the most unusual I’ve ever seen. It’s as though they decided the railing was too low and so they added and additional higher handrail.

    • Carolyn says: 304 comments

      I had the exact same thought, they added on at some point to make the railing higher. It is unique.

    • Joe says: 750 comments

      Except for the rail addition, this house is really nice.
      My wife and I toured the Past Mansion in Milwaukee recently.
      http://www.pabstmansion.com
      It is an historic house museum that is well worth touring and has a similar upper rail, although it has a different appearance that ties in better with the original portion. It seems that a grandchild nearly fell over the original height rail and so they added the upper. I immediately asked the guide about it because the rest of the wood on the stair was quarter sawn oak, and the upper rail and extensions are plain sawn. The two have a very clear visual difference. I suspect that the rail in this house was also judged to be unsafely low and added to. Unfortunately, to my eye, the styles of the original and the additional rails on this house don’t just clash with each other, they swear.

      • Joe says: 750 comments

        I regret to say that after writing the last post, I searched images of the Past Mansion without success to find a decent image of the rail I described. They did not allow photography inside the mansion during the tour we took. Maybe someone else would have more success at finding a good image of that rail.

    • MazamaGrammy says: 361 comments

      I toured this house on May 6th. I don’t believe the handrail was altered. I think it was originally designed that way. It’s very beautiful and the stairway is unusually comfortable to walk up for such an old home. The inside is well maintained and was lived in until the very recent demise of the owner in her 90’s. The home feels very sturdy on the inside – but the outside looks like it’s ready to fall apart. The siding on one side of the house is rotted away. The front porch is very saggy.

      • VivoDisco says: 77 comments

        I had the very intense feeling of looking at house that was very loved and lived in. Also a deep sadness knowing that whoever called that place home was gone. What a lovely legacy.

  3. natira121natira121 says: 662 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1877 Vernacular
    Columbia River Gorge, WA

    Now THAT’S a close-up of a newel post! *grin*

  4. says: 172 comments

    Beautiful old architecture and some nice wood work inside.

  5. Colleen J says: 1157 comments

    Very nice indeed! Clean it up on the outside and it’s a good house under 200, can’t ask for a nicer deal.

  6. In one of the pictures, is that a capped well?

  7. Beautiful, this one would be fun to fix up.

  8. dkzody says: 252 comments

    147 years of living in this house. That’s impressive.

  9. Cheryl says: 6 comments

    I have a neighbor who’s restoring a second empire 1875 home. The handrail is very low, every time I climb the stairs I find myself clutching the wall. The stairwell to the tower is even more fun. I’m pretty sure people were must shorter in 1875. It looks like they added on at some point to make the handrail taller.

  10. mary lin says: 11 comments

    would love to own this house and all the furniture and stuff inside. What a treasure hunt

  11. MazamaGrammy says: 361 comments

    I toured this house on May 6th when the family held an estate sale. It is beautiful on the inside and very well preserved. The second owner of the home recently passed away in her 90’s. The exterior has fallen into serious disrepair and would need extensive work. I expect the electrical and plumbing may need some replacement as well. It could be beautiful but would require a lot of money.The house across the street is of similar age and there are several others in Whitewright dating form the same period. One of those is on the next block west and the exterior has been beautifully restored and is gorgeous. The town itself has seen better days and is far from thriving. Many homes are deteriorating and the commercial center is also wasting away. An attempt was made to re-open the old theatre. It was wonderfully refurbished with an Egyptian/Greek Orpheum theme, modern reclining cushy theatre seats and a modern wide 3-D capable movie screen. We enjoyed going there very much but it just didn’t make it and closed after only about a year. Too bad. Whitewright is a rural small town surrounded by ranchland.

  12. LisaLouLisaLou says: 107 comments

    I’m ready to move in! Let me pack a bag. I could live in it just like it is. Just get the outside cleaned up. It is beautiful!!

  13. Eric Unhinged says: 1016 comments

    The staircase in this house has captured the attention of many. What is truly unusual, however, is not that the handrail appears to have been raised, but that the upper part appears older than the lower part! The main balustrade and newel posts are both characteristic of the Colonial Revival popular in the early 20th century. Box newels were not very popular until the late 1880’s; prior to that a house of this stature would likely have had newels which were round or octagonal in shape. There is no way that this staircase dates to the 1870’s! During the 1870’s fashionable homes had staircases built of walnut – not pine as the grain here reveals. The nearly universal handrail profile in the 1870’s was the “camelback” which had a slight hump at the center. The Colonial Revival did not gain in popularity until after the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 where all things colonial were made newly fashionable. Even then it took a few years for the style to reach the hinterlands such as Texas.

    This staircase is indeed a bit odd looking. If you were to remove the upper handrail, you would be left with freakishly tall newel posts… another bit of evidence pointing to the originality of the composition. All of the woodwork in the house is of the sort that could be ordered from millwork catalogs widely available at the turn of the century. I’m guessing that the builder customized a stock balustrade by adding a fanciful handrail on top of it. Not the most sophisticated design work, but on par with the somewhat clumsy facade.

    Whether you want to believe it or not, the staircase balustrade is of the same age as the door and window casings, the fireplace mantels, etc. It all dates to the 1890’s.

  14. CharlestonJohn says: 1123 comments

    This example of Classical Revival detailing was constructed for Dr. David M Ray who was both the town’s first doctor and the first President of the First National Bank of Whitewright. A lot of firsts.

    The town wasn’t incorporated until 1878 and was named after William Whitewright, Jr. who financed the nearby railroad connection that lead to rapid growth during the last decade of the 19th century.

    As for the build date of this house, it’s possible that there was an earlier structure here that dates back to 1870, although it seems that there were few people in the area at that time. Historic maps do not show the area where the house stands until 1900, which can indicate lack of development in areas not covered. It seems much of the town was destroyed by a fire in 1884, so perhaps this house was rebuilt in the current style sometime after that. I think it’s just as likely that this home was constructed as an early example of Classical Revival styling sometime after the 1893 World’s Fair made Neoclassicism trendy again.

    http://www.whitewright.org/images/photos/20090404101524_13_734_dr.d.m.raywhitewright.jpg

    • Eric Unhinged says: 1016 comments

      Great photo! Thanks for tracking it down… it is interesting to see that the house previously had at least 3 colors on the exterior with details picked out in late Victorian fashion. It’s not the most sophisticated example of Neoclassicism; the asymmetrical complexity of the roof rivals some modest Queen Annes!

      As you noted, the 1893 World’s Fair gave Neoclassicism a shot in the arm, and it did the same for the less formal and still-fledgling Colonial Revival style. The two concurrently popular styles shared similarities being both inspired by classical architecture. The builder of this house was likely influenced by both trends, with a heavy dose of design tradition from the preceding decade thrown in.

  15. momof5momof5 says: 33 comments

    I want this house.

  16. Lottie says: 369 comments

    Thank you for the lovely old photo, Charlestonjohn.

    Love this house, inside and out!

  17. Jan Ramey says: 26 comments

    I don’t care if the stair rail extension is old or new, I think it is wonderful and would love to have it if I had a house of this age. I’m not sure the interior is in as good a shape as it would seem from the pictures. I think only one bath is shown and the pic of the stained glass ceiling light has a wall and window in the background not nearly as nice as the other room pics. Plus at 5,000 sq. ft. there should be a lot more rooms. As always, fixing all her sags and paint on the outside would be expensive.

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