Turn of the Century Texas Homes

I’m down to the last week before my deadline and things are crazy! However, as any professional writer will tell you, we’re never just thinking about one project. We are writing one while marketing another. We are working on edits for a third a researching plot ideas for a fourth. Thankfully, I’m only juggling three of those balls instead of all four this week, but it still requires a mental dexterity that can be as taxing as it is exciting.

Next week I will turn in my current manuscript and start work on the next project – one that took me to Gainesville, TX last week to research their wonderful history in person. My story will feature a Harvey Girl heroine working at the newly opened Harvey Lunch Counter in 1902 Gainesville, TX. The people of Gainesville have done a fabulous job of preserving their history, and last week I blogged about walking the very halls of the Santa Fe Depot that my character will. You can find that blog here.

Today, I thought I’d share some of the other wonderful finds I discovered in Gainesville. Not only did I need to know what the lunch counter and depot were like, but I needed to learn about the city itself, and I found a treasure trove. Gainesville has numerous preserved homes from the late 1890s and early turn of the century, the era that I will be writing about.

We took a driving tour of the town, and I took lots of pictures. These are my top 8 houses. The hero in my story is going to have a slightly snobbish mother who looks down on the heroine, viewing a waitress as not only being beneath her son’s station as a lawyer and wealthy rancher’s heir, but as a morally loose woman as well. Which of these houses do you think such a woman would live in?

If YOU were going to live in one of these houses, which would you choose?

Karen Witemeyer
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

20 Comments

  1. Karen- great blog. I would choose the very top right white one. I love the big wide porch. Have a great day, good luck on your book.

  2. I think any of them but especially 2, 5 and 7.

  3. Thank you for sharing your great blog. I think the snobbish mother lived in 2. I will take 4.

  4. These are some incredible houses. My favorite is 4. Speaking of old houses, just the other day I watched a video about the history and restoration of a house close by me that was built in the late 1800s. It’s not always open for visitors, but I need to keep an eye out for when it is open to the public. I would love a tour of the home (if the inside is open) and property.

    1. How fun to see a show about a home so close to you, Janine! I hope you get to tour it someday. Especially if they have it decorated and furnished in 19th century style. That would be fabulous!

      1. I have no idea if it’s furnished or not. But I am determined to find out more. My curiosity is peaking right now. Here is a link if you are interested in checking it out. http://www.cityofmesquite.com/201/Opal-Lawrence-Historical-Park

        1. What a fabulous property! It’s so unique. And all the outbuildings as well. That would be a great place to tour. Can you imagine a living history walk-through there? Very cool!

          1. I’m definitely going to have to check it out. I need to wait until they are open when my husband isn’t working. He wants to go too.

  5. Hello, Karen, great blog. I just went on a research trip myself, and there is nothing better than seeing first hand what you’re researching. It adds such depth to your story.
    That’s a great collection of preserved and restored homes, very beautiful. I think I would pick #5, as it seems both spectacular and homey and the same time. Wishing you the best with your Harvie Girl project.

    1. Thanks, Hebby! I do so much of my research online, that taking this trip was a real treat. I’m so thankful to the people of Gainesville for preserving so much of their history.

  6. I would choose number 4 something about all the roundness of the House speaks to me

  7. Wow you have a ton to keep you busy right now!!! I think the snobbish woman would live in number 4. But for me I love number 3!!!

  8. I’d probably pick 4, but any of them with a turret would do. I’ve always wanted one for a reading nook.

    1. Wouldn’t that be lovely! Great idea, Carrie!

  9. 2 for sure.

  10. Beautiful houses. Number 2 for the snobby mother. The others look like houses in Saratoga Springs,N.Y. in the neighborhood near the race track and the old Skidmore College campus. Growing up my mom would drive us through that part of town to admire the houses and be thankful we didn’t have to clean them.

    1. LOL! So true. Maintain them, either. Old houses usually mean old plumbing and electrical. I happy for someone else to do the work and left me enjoy. Maybe if I were more of the DIY handy type . . .

  11. I think she would prefer #2. Victorians are too frilly for someone with such rigid ideas. #2 is staid, imposing, and looking down upon all who pass by.

  12. I love the pillars on #2. My ideal home would have a wrap around porch thats about 8′-10′. Lots of room for plants, sitting areas, porch swing, deco and an outdoor kitchen under the porch in the back yard. I dream big. Lol

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