The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

December 5, 2012

Day, evening home tours feature festive look at Palestine residences


PALESTINE — “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.

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