I love stepping back in time. Through the pages of a book, the visual delight of a period movie or television series, looking at old pictures, digging into research, or even working on a craft that has been practiced for hundreds of years. There is something about the past that is just so romantic and enticing to me.
It probably comes as no surprise, then, that when my daughter and I met up in Waco for a girl’s weekend a few months ago, we spent our time stepping through as many time portals as we could. In a previous post I shared about the Waco Suspension Bridge that was built to allow cattle to be driven over the Brazos (you can find that post here), but today, I’d like to share some photos from my favorite visit of the the day – The East Terrace House Museum.
The tour started off in perfect style when the door was opened by our docent who was dressed in period costume. She is a history student from Baylor working on her master’s degree, and she was the perfect hostess.
The first room we toured was the library, which of course became one of my favorites. Reading by a fire with plenty of natural light in what was probably the quietest room of the house.
Passing through the doorway with our guide, we came to the ladies sitting room. A larger space with more furniture to allow one to sit with friends and family while plying a needle or writing some letters. It is hard to tell from this photograph, but the desk and chair in the corner that belonged to Mrs. Mann seemed better suited to a child. She was such a tiny woman, that even with the full skirts of her day, her chairs were more comparable to those for children than adults.
Next we came to the elaborate dining room. The table is set with the family china, and each place setting has its own salt cellar. They preserved so many family heirlooms in this marvelous home.
The next set of rooms we came to were large, open double parlors that could be used for all manner of entertaining. These were matched on the second story with a long ballroom. But on the main floor, the highlight was the nook on the far end that created a music room with Cemira’s harp and piano.
At the back of the house was the kitchen. When the home was originally built, the kitchen would have been detached from the house, but as time passed and things were modernized, it joined with the main house.
At the back of the kitchen were a set of stairs, and at the top of these stairs was the bathroom that would serve the family whose bedrooms were situated on this second floor. The Mann home was the first to have running water in Waco, although initially, the water only ran one direction–out. Water would still have to be heated on the kitchen stove and carted upstairs, but when the bath was over, the water would drain out. Not too much longer, the Waco Waterworks were built right across the street from East Terrace, allowing full-service plumbing.
This bedroom was a guest suite situated off of the ballroom. Ladies could use it as a retiring room to rest or repair their hair or dress. Or if the party lasted long into the night, it could serve as an overnight respite. It is not visible in this photo, but there was also a Murphey bed along the wall on the left. When put up, it looked like a fancy wood panel with a full-length mirror attached. But if called upon, it could be lowered to allow more space for guests to sleep.
I saved my favorite place in the house for last. This staircase let up to the tower room that offered magnificent views of the Brazos and surrounding areas. But it is this nook tucked beneath the staircase that captured my heart. A small little sewing nook with natural lighting and trunk to hold supplies. I would love to convert this into a cozy reading nook with shelves full of my favorite historical novels close at hand. I think I’ll keep the sewing machine, though, for ambiance.
Do you enjoy touring historic homes or perhaps collecting antiques?
Which room shown above would you choose to incorporate into your own home?