The last stop on the Historic Buildings Tour was the First State Bank of Montgomery which was on 211 Liberty in the middle of the Historic Business District at 211 Liberty Street. The Historic Business District runs along Liberty Street from Eva Street (TX 105) to College Street, and then east to Prairie Street. The Museum and the Law Offices (Davis and McCall) are also in this district as is the #24 Conner-Gibbs House (which we didn't see) and the Rabon-Fuller House - both owned by Joe Stockley.
The Bank was chartered on December 11, 1906, and served until voluntarily liquidated in 1934. It is the oldest commercial building in the Historic Business District and is owned by Gerald and Susan Fauss and is operated as the Bank Boutique and Coffee Bar. They sell expresso coffee. In the picture, Pecan Shadows (#3) is visible on the left side.
The first Baptist parsonage in Montgomery was built next to the Baptist Church on Pond Street in 1909. Reverend S.T. Gray was the first pastor to occupy it. The house was sold to the Methodists in the 1980s, and in 1992, the Beathard's acquired it and moved it down Caroline Street. It is directly behind Ceder Break park. The Beathard's restored the house and it is now the home of the E.A. Mead family.
This house at 504 Caroline was built in the 1850s for Dr. Bell, brother of Judge Bell, owner of Bells Grove. The walls are hand-hewn and joined with square nails and rest on long cypress logs. It has been owned by the mayor of the city, and used as a boarding house (at different times) and also served as the telephone office at one time. The brochure says it is now owned by James and Mary Moody. If I have the right house, it appeared to be vacant and abandoned when we saw it.
The brochure says that this site at 811 Caroline was purchased by John E. Shelton in 1855. He built the main portion of the house in 1858 for Capt. Thomas W. Smith, whose family owned it until 1924. It was later owned by Thomas Gay, Ken Whisenants, and is now owned by Richard and Mary Eckhart who have restored it beautifully.
The historic marker out front says:
The SHELTON-SMITH House
A part of this house may have existed as early as 1855, when site and improvements were sold to John E. Shelton. He was a master craftsman who built other fine houses prior to 1860. Shelton built the main portion about 1858 for his friend and business partner, Thomas Westly Smith (1829-1902), who later was a leading cigar manufacturer in the county. Smith and his heirs owned the house until 1924. A granddaughter added the dormers in a 1922 remodeling. The 1924-1970 owners were the Thomas A. Gay family. Mr. and Mrs. K. M. Whisenant now (1976) preserve it.
The little added sign says:
This property was purchased in October 2000 by Richard and Mary Eckhart, who have restored the home and slave quarters.
905 Stewart is the location of this typical cottage with dentil trim, wide hall and wainscoating. It was built in 1845 by Dr. E. J. Arnold, and was moved to this site in 1978 as a gift from the Simonton family to the Montgomery Historical Society.
The historical marker in the front says:
Frontier Colonial Home, with classic porch. Oldest house in Montgomery, built 1845 by settler from Connecticut. Dr. E. J. Arnold. Earlier home, log cabin built on this lot in 1835, continued in use as doctor's office.
For several generation home of Simonton Family, descendants of the builder.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1964.
Entered in the National Register of Historic Places 1979
This Victorian gingerbread cottage at 415 Houston was built in 1893 for Dr. Henry and Cherrie Dean Waters. It was inherited by their daughter (the brochure says it was 'heired') Lockett (Mrs. W. B.) Wood. The Wood family lived here until the 1970s, when it was sold to the Welborns, Stewarts and is now home of Dan and Sharon Miller.
This house at 202 Prairie was built in 1876 for Nathaniel Hart Davis by John Bishop from plans drawn by Thomas Godden. It was purchased and remodeled in 1950 by J. S. Griffith. Extensive restoration has been done by the new owners, Don and Mary Sue Timmerman.
About a block south of this house is #25 Melrose House at 202 Eva (which is also TX highway 105). It was built in 1854 for Richard S. Willis. It was named for his home back East. For some reason we did not get to this house, perhaps because it is so close to the highway. It has been occupied by leading citizens of Montgomery, including Dr. Phil H. Berley family and Dr. John L. Irion. It was the birthplace of Gray I. Morriss, grandson of Dr. Irion who was one of the founders of the American Legion. It is now the home of the Cecil family.
This house at 411 Pond street was built in 1890 adjacent to the Santa Fe depot. The original owners were Solon and Susie Gary Campbell. Because of its location near the depot, corpses shipped to Montgomery were often put in the hallway while awaiting burial. It is about half a block from the Old Montgomery Cemetery. The house looks a little as if it might be haunted.
We did not see or take a picture of #24 the Conner-Gibbs House which originally was part of the Brantly Settlement 8 miles south-east of Montgomery on Old Montgomery Road (FM 2854). It was purchased, moved to Montgomery to the northwest corner of Prairie and Caroline and restored by Joe Shockley in 1994. He owns and has restored several other buildings in Montgomery.
This house at 104 Prairie was built in 1892 for J.B. and Martha Davis Addison, Martha Grandy's grandparents. Hearthstones are handcut of native sandstone. Mantles and doors were woodgrained by a German itenerant painter known only as "Mr. Patch", who signed his work with his portrait. You can see his work in the N.B. Davis Museum. The house was given to the Montgomery Historical Society in July 1997 by Martha and W. Harley Grandy.
This house at 315 Caroline is owned by Joe Shockley. It was built circa 1890 and was the home of Vol and Florence Burden Rabon. In 1937, the Rabon heirs sold it to Horace Fullen. It is also the site of the Garrett House Antiques & Doll Hospital which was built in Houston before 1920 and moved to Montgomery in 1995.
This Texas Greek Revival structure at 708 Caroline was built by John E. Shelton and sold to Judge Henry R. Bell in 1855. The name Bell's Grove came from the wooded area that adjoined the house in those days where political rallies were held. The house is being restored by the Newman family who are the current owners.
On Caroline at number 816, this was built circa 1900 for William B. and Anna Griffith Gay. A two story sleeping porch (now enclosed) was added in the 1920s. The house remained in the Gay family (some of whom are buried in the Old Montgomery Cemetery) until 1977, when it was purchased by the Stanley Miller family. It is now the home of the Reasner family.
When we got to the end of College Street, I took a picture of the house at 902 College (#12) on the north side of the street. There were supposed to be two houses here - one at 905 and one at 907 College. But he last house on that side of the street had an 800 block number.
Looking at the map, I felt that I should have been able to see the 905 address, but I could not unless it is the little building in the second picture which is beside the 800 block house. The lion in the Intro was where I thought the house should be. The 907 address was off in the middle and I wasn't sure (because they were too far away for me to see if they had an address on them) which one of them might have been the Liberty Building.
The brochure says:
!3. THE PRAIRIE HOUSE, 905 College. Built in the early 1900s as a one room board and batton house in Richards, other rooms added over the years. Bleu and Dickey Beathard bought the house from the Podraza family in 1991, moved it to Montgomery and restored it. Now home of Paulette and Jerry Kullos
14. LIBERTY BUILDING, 907 College (Circa 1907) Originally built on Liberty Street, it has housed a post office, cafe, and barbershop through the years. It was moved to the current location and restored by the Beathards in 1992. Now owned by Paulette and Jerry Kullos
This house at 902 College (just about at the end) was part of Peter J. Willis' original estate in 1854. The foundation under the original two rooms was made of hand-hewn beams with wooden pegs. It has typical high ceilings and an underground jug cistern.
The Historic Marker for this house says
"Homewood". Built 1887 by merchant, landowner, farmer Wm. Baker Wood (1835-1941) and wife, Amelia Davis (1859-1943).
Choice heart pine, shiplap siding, square nails, board and batten kitchen at first was detached. Cypress-lined underground cistern.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1965
The tour brochure adds that it is a typical modified Victorian mansion, unchanged except for attaching the kitchen wing. The Wood's maiden daughter Valda inherited the house and lived there until her death in 1999 at the age of 102. It is now the home of great-great-grandaughter Debbie and her husband Karl Brosch.