The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

December 5, 2012

Day, evening home tours feature festive look at Palestine residences

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Palestine residents will get the chance to tour seven historic homes decorated for the holidays during the “Heart & Tinsel” and “Candlelight & Tinsel” Tour of Homes on Saturday as part of the Frost Fest activities in Palestine.

“There have been prior historic homes tours here, given by the various clubs in Palestine and decorated by them expressly for the events. However, this time around, the homeowners themselves are decorating with their own styles, whether it be an abundance of Christmas trees and decorations or simple candles in the windows. Whatever they decide, the homes themselves will shine,” event organizer Marti Moronko said.

Two tours will be featured including one in the Northside Historical District and one in the Southside Historical District.

“The home owners are really enthusiastic. Several of them will be in period dress and some have made plans to serve gingerbread and wassail,” Moronko said.

The early afternoon tour, “Hearth & Tinsel” will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Northside Historical District, while the early evening tour, “Candlelight & Tinsel” will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Southside Historical District. There are different homes on each tour.

In addition, two tea events — “Tea & Tinsel” — will be held in conjunction with the tours at the historic Magnolia Street Bed & Breakfast, 421 S. Magnolia St., with two seating times, from 3 to 4 p.m. and from 4 to 5 p.m.

The prices for the home tours are $15 each with both selling for $25, and the teas are $15 per person.

“The teas have limited capacity, so the proprietors of the Magnolia Street Inn Bed & Breakfast ask that those tickets be purchased prior to Friday,” Moronko said. “The purpose of the teas is to introduce the visitors to the hospitality and warmth of our city on a more personal basis.”

All tickets for the home tours and tea sittings may be purchased in advance through Friday at the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce office at 401 W. Main St. in Palestine or online at

Home tour tickets will be available Saturday at the Frost Fest event in downtown Palestine or the Palestine Visitor Information Center, 825 W. Spring St.

Here is a description the homes on the tours:

“Hearth & Tinsel” Afternoon Tour in Northside Historical District (2 to 4 p.m.)

• 922 N. Link St.  (Campbell family) — In contrast to the asymmetrical forms and eclectic character of many houses of the Victorian era, residences of the 1900s and 1910s typically had more balanced and orderly exteriors. This 2-story frame house provides a vivid illustration of this trend in residential architectural history. The property is virtually unaltered, with its historic character and integrity largely intact. This house was originally built as a small one-story dwelling in the 1870s by Albert A. Joost, the son of Palestine's first merchant. Tennessee-native James Wisdom Ozment (1842-1918) bought the house about 1910 and hired builder William Kraus to move the original structure back from the street and substantially enlarge it into a grand two-story dwelling with a classical façade. Ozment was an extremely important figure in mid and late 19th century Palestine: a member of the first city council, he was instrumental in helping restore power to local citizens in the aftermath of the Civil War and the occupation of Palestine by the carpetbaggers. He was the first president of Palestine National Bank, which opened in 1890. Ozment operated a dry goods store on the courthouse square and had substantial real estate holdings; in addition, he expanded the city's first telephone service.

• 402 E. Kolstad St. (Tatum family) — Local historians claim that part of this house existed as early as 1870, when local schoolteacher Virgil F. DuBose rented the dwelling from Dr. Henry H. Link, who lived nearby and owned this land. DuBose was soon able to buy the house, which he subsequently expanded. It is believed that he and his wife Lockie began adding the house’s Queen Anne ornamentation after DuBose became District Clerk, a position he held for much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During the mid-1920s Mr. DuBose was manager of the Anderson County Abstract Company, located at the courthouse. City directories note that Mr. DuBose continued living here through at least 1941. DuBose died Sept. 19, 1944 and is buried at the East Hill Cemetery.

• 310 E Kolstad (Patton family) — The most impressive feature of this 2-story frame house is its pedimented portico with two-story ionic columns. These architectural elements are indicative of the Classical Revival style, an architectural expression that attained a degree of popularity locally during the 1900s and 1910s. This house, which is virtually unaltered with its historic integrity largely intact, is one of the premier examples of this style in Palestine. An addition was made to the rear of the house in the 1940s. According to the current owner, V.D. Wilson had this house built in 1907, and he lived here himself until 1909, when it was purchased by W. Wright. Wright owned and occupied the dwelling until 1919. From that year until 1944 the house was owned and occupied by Alfred Alonzo Brooks and his wife Rebecca. During the 1920s, Alfred Alonzo Brooks was an employee of the I&GN Railroad; later, he was superintendent of the Reclamation Plant for Missouri Pacific.

“Candlelight & Tinsel”  Evening Tour in Southside Historical District (5 to 7 p.m.)

• 708 S. Sycamore St. (McKinney Home) — This 2 1/2 story frame dwelling, with its three-story corner tower is one of the better illustrations of the popular Queen Anne style, although changes to the front porch and the addition on the south elevation detract somewhat from the house's overall historic character and integrity. According to one owner, W.B. Johnson built this house in 1902-03 to plans by architect J.S. Moad. The original occupants were Barney and Lena Pearlstone, who lived here from 1903 until 1905, when Hyman and Mabel Pearlstone acquired the house. Mr. H. Pearlstone, who operated the Pearlstone Grocery at 108 S. Sycamore, resided here with his wife until 1924. The house is also prominently associated with William M. and Auba Hamilton, who owned and occupied the house from 1925 until 1972. During the 1920s Mr. Hamilton was owner and publisher of the Palestine Daily Herald; later, he was the proprietor of W.M. Hamilton & sons, which published several local and regional newspapers.

• 616 S. Sycamore St. (R. Herrington Home) — Long a Palestine landmark, the home at 616 S. Sycamore is today additionally noted for its annual Christmas decorations — both the multiple Christmas trees inside the home, and the extensive array outside.

Originally a single-story frame building, the house was built about 1897 by Dr. Thomas Milton Colley for his recently-married son, Paul Sims Colley.  

The 1920s brought multiple changes to Sycamore Street, including the arrival of potable water from a central water system, a public sewage system, paved sidewalks and paved streets.  The changes encouraged Paul Colley in 1929 to made major alterations to his home.

Under the direction of Palestine architect Theodore S. Maffitt and contractor C.S. Maffitt, the house was modernized with the addition of a kitchen and bath that was added to the rear. A music room was also added to the front and south side of the building.  The most striking change, however, was to the exterior of the house. A high-peaked roof was added over its original one-story frame and brick veneer was added to convert it to a Tudor-revival style dwelling. The Tudor style was very much in vogue in the 1920s.  

The home saw its share of weddings throughout its gardens and flower-strewn paths until 1981, when Ms. Alma Colley passed away. The present owner acquired the home in 1984 and has made many improvements.  

•  519 S. Royall St. (Ricard family/owned by Dr. Carolyn Salter) — Most of the large, late 19th century residences in the neighborhood south of Palestine's historic downtown feature wood-frame construction; however, this opulent dwelling has brick load-bearing walls. The house displays Victorian Italianate architectural embellishments, including the segmental-arched hoodmolds, bracketed eaves, and main entrance with its round-arched portal and hoodmold. The fish-scaled, patterned shingles in the front-facing gable and the complex roof plan are also suggestive of the Queen Anne style. Local brick manufacturer and Massachusetts-native Daniel N. Darling built this house in 1881; it is one of the oldest brick dwellings in the city. John Young Gooch (1848-1904) purchased the home soon after its construction; he was a prominent local lawyer who at one time was partners with John H. Reagan in the law firm of Reagan, Greenwood, and Gooch. Gooch also served as a state senator and as mayor and District Judge of Palestine. Judge Benjamin Howard Gardner (1854-1947) and his wife Carrie Bonner Gardner purchased the house in 1892. A native of Alabama, Gardner was another prominent local lawyer; he served as County Attorney for Freestone County, District Judge for the Third Judicial District, and was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to be chairman of the Board of Legal Examiners. In 1899 the Gardners oversaw a major remodeling of the house, including the addition of porches, several rooms on the north side, and abundant Queen Anne detailing. Judge Gardner's daughter, Luella Gardner Kolstad, and her husband, P.A. “Drew” Kolstad, purchased the house in 1948, and extensively remodeled the home during 1949-50. Palestine architect Theodore Maffitt oversaw this renovation, which included the removal of the porches which had been added earlier. Kolstad was co-owner of Kolstad Jewelers, Palestine's oldest business, and was a director of the First National Bank of Palestine.

• 405 E Neches St. (Stokes Home) — This grand two-story house is one of the earliest and best local examples of the Colonial Revival style. This architectural expression attained only marginal popularity in Palestine during the early 20th century. The residence occupies a large lot and is set back from the street, both of which add to the building's overall sense of grandeur. It is thought that this house was built in December 1911 for Eugene Fore by prominent local contractor John H. Gaught. Gaught was also responsible for many other notable Palestine buildings, including the Redlands Hotel. Ozie B. Rogers and his wife Alice purchased the dwelling from Fore in 1915. In addition to serving as County Tax Collector and City Councilman, Rogers owned the O.B. Rogers Chevrolet.

About Magnolia Street Inn

The Magnolia Street Inn Bed & Breakfast will host two tea sittings Saturday.

This Victorian house, originally built by Harold Barnes in 1874 as a small cottage, was later enlarged to its present 4,400 square feet. The house has essentially looked the same since 1892 when a second story was added. Sometime during the 1920s to 1930s, the house was converted to apartments and “modernized” with new wood work, oak floors and exterior columns.

It was home to many who became prominent citizens in the community. The Texas Historical Marker in front of the house recognizes one of the most illustrious residents, Congressman Alexander Gregg White who served the 7th Congressional District from 1902 until his death in 1919. Among his many accomplishments, he is best known for writing legislation to create the Galveston Seawall. The congressman’s widow and children sold the house in 1924.

Over time, apartments in the home provided memories for its tenants. However in the 1990s this stately house began to suffer from years of neglect and was scheduled for demolition. Nancy Foy Archer’s dream of restoring the house to its original beauty and charm and making it into a bed and breakfast saved the house from demolition. Tragically, Archer passed away before her dreams were realized.

In 2004, the house was purchased by Michael Elledge and Robert Ford who brought Archer’s dream of bringing this home back to its original splendor to reality. The new owners of this house, Roberta Wilson and Cindy Nesbitt continue Archers’ dream of a Bed and Breakfast.