The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


January 25, 2014


PALESTINE — The home of Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Fox was regarded as one of the most socially elegant homes in Palestine. It was the scene of many receptions and open houses.

The home was a jewel on Silk Stocking Road. The Fox house was originally given the address 310 South Sycamore in 1899, today the current address is 411 South Sycamore.

The house sat high off of the ground, rectangular in shape with wrap around verandas. Compared to rival houses, the Fox house was not the most ornate. It was restrained in it's ornamentation, large wood brackets supported a wide eave, a  hipped roof was topped by an iron cresting. Placed on the grounds was a 3 tiered cast iron fountain supported by cranes, but perhaps the most lovely feature of the grounds was the wood gazebo that sat to the left of the house. The small gazebo was truly a work of art; decorated with dental style trim and diamond pattern trim and painted burgundy, dark green, and cream.

The home was the scene of many fine events. One such affair took place on Dec. 14, 1898, when the actor Edwin Rostell came to Palestine to star as “Cardinal Richelieu” at the Temple Opera House.

Mr. Rostell gave a speech on “The Classics in Dramatic Literature” at the Fox house. Mrs. Fox, a member of the Self Culture Club, invited the young ladies of the As You Like It Club to attend the event. Mrs. Fox would be well known for her elegant parties and would often order french hyacinths and other fragrant flowers that would arrive by train with which to decorate her home.

The house would later pass into the ownership of Mr. and Mrs. George Pessoney. George F. Pessoney was the owner of the Palestine Ice, Fuel, and Gin Company. The Pessoney's would bring the greatest change in the appearance of the house; the Italianate design would become an imposing classical facade with four large white columns that would rise the full height of the house. The original one story wrap around porch was given a more stately look and the new formal portico would be completed with a triangular pediment.

Sadly, nothing remains of the elegant home. While the Pessoney family was repairing the house for a Christmas family gathering, a fire broke out and damaged the house beyond repair. The family, which had already moved to their country home, had the gazebo and fountain moved to their new home. The remains of the once elegant Fox-Pessoney house were demolished.  The cast iron fountain has been lost over the years, however the beautiful gazebo still remains sitting quietly in the hidden in the country.


Correction to last week's article: The Wright Mansion was demolished in 1949, not 1969. I apologize for the typographical error.

Text Only
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014