to be Converted Into an
Case Has Heretofore Occurred
in History of the City.
is not an uncommon occurrence for a residence to be converted
into a church, but when the case is reversed, and a church is
changed into a residence, it is a very unusual affair, in fact,
even the old settlers of Dallas, when the matter is considered,
will no doubt scratch their heads thoughtfully in mentally skimming
over the past and finally admit that such an occurrence since
their sojourn at the head of the Trinity navigation. However,
such a case is now in active progress at the corner of Floyd
and Cantegral streets, and the former place of worship of the
congregation of the Floyd Street Methodist church has had its
three tall spires removed and many other alterations made which
have caused it to lose completely, its aspect as a place of worship,
and to take on the appearance of a modern flat, or apartment
24, 1904, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 24, col. 3-5.
The church was erected about seven
years ago at a cost of $800, and the building is unusually well
For seven years, the congregation
assembled upon the peaceful Sabbath to offer up thanks to the
Almighty for His wondrous kindness to humanity. Affectionate
hearts have been welded together within its walls by the pastor,
while at other times, grief-burdened hearts have passed through
the church portals following the bier of some loved one who had
departed to the Great Beyond, from whence no traveler has ever
returned; were it is written that the wicked cease from troubling,
and the weary are at rest. As time passed on in its rapid flight,
the congregation increased in number, and the facilities of the
old church were found inadequate to meet the requirements of
the worshipers. Plans were finally perfected whereby a larger
and more pretentious edifice should be erected. The new church,
now in course of construction at a cost of many thousands of
dollars, is to be known as Grace M. E. church, and is situated
at the corner of Junius street and Haskell avenue.
When it was made known that the
old church would be vacated, two enterprising speculators began
negotiating with the church trustees for the purchase of the
lumber in the old building, having in mind the idea of tearing
the church down and using the lumber in the construction of other
houses. A deal was closed and early in the winter, the property
changed hands. The new owners, upon making a closer examination
of the church prior to beginning the work of tearing it down,
discovered its splendid construction and excellent sate of preservation,
and after considerable discussion, decided to convert the place
into a modern two-story flat. An able architect was set to work
without delay to draw up plans for the change and several contractors,
shortly afterwards, submitted bids on the job.
The change is now almost complete,
and one would never suspect by glancing at the attractive colonial
front, that the place had ever been utilized for any other purpose
than that of an apartment house. The building contains eight
separate and distinct apartments of four rooms each; four apartments
on the lower floor and the same number on the second story. The
apartments are separated by large eight-foot halls, crossing
in the center of the building. Each apartment is provided with
modern sanitary arrangements, gas pipes for cooking purposes,
and electric light wiring. All rooms have a south and east frontage,
and the many windows provided, furnish perfect ventilation and
light. The owners of the place, which is to be known as "Diamond
Flat," do not anticipate any difficulty in keeping it rented,
as they argue that most rental houses are not provided with the
modern conveniences; they also intend renting the apartments
at a considerably less figure than the average four-room cottage
rents for in Dallas.
In addition to the four rooms in
each apartment, a small combination bath room and toilet is provided;
the tubs are of the large porcelain variety. There are but two
or three flats in the city at the present time, but the day is
not far distant when hundreds of such buildings will be erected
here. The Diamond Flat will have its main entrance on Cantegral
street, and a second entrance on Floyd street. The Cantegral
street front, both floors, are protected with vestibules 10x20
feet. A large gable, supported by two 18-inch Corinthian columns,
nineteen feet in height, give the place a very attractive appearance,
and the locality in which the flat is situated will be very greatly
beautified by its presence.
- o o o -
Col. Swink Tells
of the Building of
THE SOLE SURVIVOR.
He is the Last Living Member
Dallas Bridge Company--An
A few days
ago, the old toll-keeper's house at the Commerce street bridge
was dismantled to make way for a track of the Rock Island railroad.
The bridge, which has been remodeled and repaired since it was
first built in 1872, is now the last landmark of the old Dallas
Bridge company, and stands as a monument to the enterprise and
push of a number of the early citizens of Dallas.
- February 21, 1904,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 9, col. 1-2.
Col. G. M. Swink, who was secretary
of the company, and now the sole surviving member, was given
the cornerstone of the old toll house the other day by the officials
of the Rock Island Railroad company, and it is now on exhibition
at the entrance of the court house.
Col. Swink was one of the most
enthusiastic "boomers" of the old bridge in the early
days of Dallas, and he started out with a subscription list,
and made all of the prominent citizens "put up" for
its construction. His first discouragements and the later success
of the enterprise are best told in his own words:
"I was a merchant on the court
house square," he said to the reporter, who was eagerly
absorbing the reminiscences of the veteran chairman of the city's
board of appeals. "The entire city was built around the
square in 1871--that is, all the business was transacted in that
locality, and East Dallas was making excellent farming land.
The city council met in a frame building on Market street.
"The Trinity river was almost
an impassable barrier to the city's development, and the merchants
could do nothing but see other towns get the bulk of the trade
from points west of the river. It was thought that the bridge
would be an impossible undertaking for the community owing to
the great expense, and those who promoted the scheme met discouragements
on every hand.
"After much work, we raised
a part of the funds, and were ready to enter negotiations with
contractors to construct the bridge. I remember an engineer advised
that a suspension bridge should be put up, but the citizens were
afraid of that kind of construction. That was before the big
suspension bridge in New York, and it was a new idea.
"Brannan & Denegan were
the contractors, and I believe that they did a good job. The
stockholders in the bridge company were: J. W. Crowdus, president;
A. C. Camp, J. H. Bryan, W. H. Prather, J. K. P. Record, J. W.
Hayes and myself. W. H. Wentworth of Boston was the engineer
"While it was being built,
crowds of citizens would stand around on the bank of the Trinity
and watch the progress of the work with open-mouthed wonderment.
Dr. Roy B. Scott, then a prominent physician here, and father
of Bev and Tom Scott, went down to the river one day, and met
with an accident that might have proved serious had he not been
lucky. Dr. Scott was standing on a completed section of the bridge,
when a large crane, used to lift materials from one place to
another, swung around and carried him off the bridge. We thought
he would be killed instantly, as there were numerous boulders
below, but he landed on his back in the soft mud. The doctor
was able to be about again in a couple of weeks.
"When the bridge was completed,
Sam A. Gallaher was put in charge of the toll gate, and a more
honorable man never lived. He collected the tolls with energy,
and few were able to get past him.
"The enterprise was a success
from the start, and my note books show that the receipts averaged
$50 per day very often. Wagons were charged 25 cents, while horsemen
could get across for 10 cents. Sam would often have arguments
with persons who would attempt to evade the toll, but he would
invariably come out on top.
"When the water was too low,
there would be a steady stream of wagons daily going to and fro
over the bridge, and the company prospered. When the high water
covered the pike, we had a ferry and floated the vehicles across
the bottoms. In 1871, the timber was very thick in the bottoms,
and the ferry was propelled by negroes who used long poles with
hooks on them, and pulled the boat from tree to tree.
"The sum of $56,100 in gold
was paid for the bridge, and it was ever a successful financial
venture. A few years later, the residents on the west side of
the river commenced kicking about having to pay out money to
come to the city, and the bridge was afterwards sold to the county
for much less than we paid for it."
- o o o -
AT CITY PARK
Grounds Are Now Being Beautified
With Flowers and Plants.
the end of the fiscal year, which is May 1, something like $4500
will have been expended by the city in improving and beautifying
the City Park. When the various budgets were made by the city
council, $4500 was allowed for the improvement of the Park, which
is more money than has been allowed in years.
- April 3, 1904, Dallas
Daily Times Herald, p. 8, col. 4-6.
Alderman Clarence C. Lane, chairman
of the public buildings and grounds committee, began his term
of office two years ago by urging the re-graveling of all of
the drives, sidewalks and paths with something like 500 loads
of the very best gravel. All of the old bridges have been torn
down and replaced by new ones and the large bridge on the east
side has been replaced by a brick and cement culvert with a dirt
and gravel embankment on each side, which allows vehicles to
Under the supervision of Park Keeper
Robert Tietz, many large and beautiful trees have been planted
and all of the terraces have been re-sodded with Bermuda grass.
Custodian Tietz is now busily engaged
in transplanting all of his hothouse plants in the open where
he has prepared many immense beds. Much time and care has been
expended in the care of the Confederate and Firemen's monuments,
where Mr. Tietz has placed some of his choicest plants and shrubs.
An electrical pump has been placed
in the Park well for the better convenience of the public. This
well is much patronized by the residents of Dallas, generally
for its medicinal properties, for which it has become widely
known. It is a familiar sight every morning to see persons coming
from every direction with bottles, buckets and pitchers to be
filled and carried home for use.
A handsome pagoda has been built
over the well, which adds a great deal to the beauty of the grounds.
New and freshly painted benches and swings have been provided
for the visitors, and it is hoped that a band will provide music
during the long summer evenings.
It was the intention of the Park
board to make considerable improvements at Bachman's dam, but
owing to the heavy expenditures at the City Park, the budget
The Dallas Consolidated Electric
Street Railway company has made many improvements in their already
bountiful park in Oak Lawn. It is their intention to make it
an ideal summer resort by providing weekly entertainments and
dances in the pavilion and adding summer houses and artistic
retreats. A great many beautiful flowers and shrubs have been
planted, and the walks and drives have been re-graveled and everything
added to make their guests comfortable.
- o o o -
OF A DEPOT
It Shows Scene in
Some of the Persons on the
are Picked Out by Old
[Note: the photo referred
did not appear with the article;
a later photo can be viewed here]
photograph of unusual interest, owing to its age, belonging to
Mrs. R. M. Sturges, of No. 3932 Baltimore avenue, Kansas City,
has been loaned to The Times Herald. The scene is at the old
union depot in East Dallas on a spring morning thirty years ago.
The photographer, whoever he was, no doubt prepared his camera
and plates with great care, as he intended taking a picture of
the southbound Houston and Texas Central train as it steamed
into the station. Down to the station he went, probably half
an hour before the southbound flyer was due to arrive, and from
the focus of the picture, it is very easy to discern that he
took up his stand at the northeast corner of Elm street and Central
avenue, where the Occidental saloon now stands. The iron horse
sent its warning in the timber about where Bryan streets crosses
the Central railroad now, and the photographer prepared to get
- January 15, 1905,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 20, col. 4.
A glance at the train will suffice
to show that the Central did a big business even in those days,
as the train was composed of about as many cars as the trains
of to-day. The locomotive is of the old "Mother Hubbard"
stack style, which is still seen on some of the smaller lines
of the country. The size of the engine does not compare with
the monster iron horse of to-day, but it is more than likely
that old engine No. 8 which drew the train shown in the picture,
attracted more attention in those days than the finest Baldwin
that runs over the road to-day. A number of persons are seen
at the station to witness the incoming train. The veteran officer
and watchman, Mr. Dickey, who crossed over the great divide two
or three years ago, is conspicuous in the picture. The true detective
instinct is manifest in his pose. He stands off a short distance
from the engine with the toe of his right shoe supporting that
limb, which is crossed in front of his left. A small dog stands
immediately behind him.
It might appear that he was merely
there for the purpose of looking at the train, but in reality,
he was on the lookout for suspicious arrivals. He took his stand
near the front of the train where he could view the incoming
passengers as they passed by on their way to town, which, at
that time, was off from the railroad. Two blocks west of the
railroad was an immense cane break, and it was considered a long
distance over to Dallas, which was, at that date, nestled around
the public square, and the store of E. M. Kahn, at the corner
of Elm and Lamar streets, was as far as the brick buildings extended
towards East Dallas.
Another familiar figure in the
picture is James Tichenor, Sr., the father of Alf, Dave and Jim
Tichenor. Dr. James L. Tichenor is now one of the oldest practicing
dentists in Dallas and has his office near where the little fruit
stand and confectionery store of his father stood. The Tichenor
store is the little square building in the foreground at the
left of the picture. The elder Tichenor is seen standing in front
of his little establishment with his hands behind his back, watching
the photographer's camera, which, by the way, was somewhat of
an unusual object in those days. This old gentleman was called
to his reward more than a quarter of a century ago.
Another feature of the picture
is the saloon sign in the shape of a huge elevated figure holding
a large mug of foaming beer. This was at Mike Roe's saloon, and
the proprietor, who was for many years, well and favorably known
in Dallas prior to his death, is seen standing at the extreme
right of the foreground of the picture.
The two little barefooted boys, who are sitting down at the edge
of the platform engaged in some chummy chat, are unrecognizable
to any of the old settlers to-day, but if they are still living,
it is probable they both have boys of their own larger than they
themselves were at the time the picture was made.
An old-fashioned omnibus and baggage
wagon is to be seen down close to the old depot. This old vehicle
was in use until about eight years ago.
In the direction of Swiss avenue
and Pearl street, there appears to have been a dense forest at
that time. Dr. Tichenor states that he cut cedar trees away from
the place at which his father's little store stood. He says that
there were a few scattered residences as far over as Swiss avenue
thirty years ago.
Col. J. T. Elliott, the veteran
lumber dealer, had his lumber yard on Elm street, just above
Roe's saloon at that time, and it was he who recognized Mr. Dickey
and Mr. Roe in the old photograph, which is badly faded and broken
through the center.
Jack Witt, upon being shown the
old picture, pointed out Tichenor's store, and said: "I'll
bet I've spent ten dollars in nickels at that old place for old-fashioned
cocoanut bar candy. Gee, but that did taste good to the kids
in those days."
The whole picture serves as an
indication of the splendid growth and development of Dallas in
a comparatively few years. The old landmarks are fast disappearing.
This scene shown in the picture has undergone such a complete
change, that it is impossible to recognize it as the same corner
to-day. A picture taken from the same corner as the old view
was photographed would probably prove almost as interesting,
thirty years hence, as the old picture appears to-day.
- o o o -
OF A LANDMARK
History of Old Church
Commerce Street Now Being
twenty-nine years ago, the contract was signed for the erection
of the Cathedral of St. Matthew's on Commerce street, and, lacking
but little of the anniversary, the work of demolition of the
structure was begun. For many years, the brick cathedral on Commerce
and Kendall streets has been one of the landmarks of the city
and there are many memories connected with the congregation that
used it and the city has spread out around it, which members
of the present great cathedral will hallow.
DESTRUCTION OF OLD EPISCOPAL CHURCH ON COMMERCE STREET.
-- Photo by Clogenson.
years, the congregation worshipped in a wooden structure on the
corner of Elm and Lamar streets. It was in that house that the
church was working, when, on Jan. 1, 1875, Bishop Alexander C.
Garrett, consecrated a few days before in the cathedral of which
he was the dean in Omaha, came to this diocese, to which he has
since ministered continuously. In the latter part of the year,
the question of a new home for the congregation arose, and on
Dec. 27, a meeting of the vestry took the first steps. After
discussion, the meeting adjourned for one day to ascertain the
desires of the churchmen in the matter. It was reported at the
meeting on Dec. 28, that $2,800 had been subscribed.
- April 9, 1905, Dallas
Morning News, Sec. II, p. 5, col. 1-3.
Cheered by the report, the vestry
appointed Col. John Kerr as a committee of one to make inquiries
as to a suitable site. At a meeting on Feb. 14, the valentine
of the vestry to the congregation was the selection of the site
on Commerce and Kendall streets. Proposals for the erection of
the new building were opened on March 12, and the contract was
signed April 14, 1876, Good Friday, for a church to cost $13,800.
Three days later, ground was broken. For many years, the old
building removed from Elm and Lamar streets, stood behind the
cathedral and was used as a school building.
Before the new house was completed,
the dean of the cathedral, Dr. S. D. Davenport, died Jan. 1,
1877, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery. First to officiate
in the new house was Rev. Stephen H. Green, under whose ministry
there was great growth of the church. Rev. John Davis succeeded
him after five years, and he, in turn, was succeeded by Rev.
William Munford. At the close of the ministry of Dr. Munford,
the old church was sold, as it had grown to small for the congregation.
Last to officiate in the edifice was Rev. C. W. Turner, for several
years the dean of the cathedral. The building and lot sold for
$60,000. Under the ministration of Mr. Turner and William Guion,
the congregation worshipped in a temporary structure adjoining
the present cathedral on Ervay street. This later was used as
a school, and is still standing in the rear of the rectory. First
to officiate in the new St. Matthew's, erected under the direction
of Judge Richard Morgan and the late W. H. Flippen, was Rev.
Hudson Stuck, until recently the rector of the parish. The new
church cost $50,000, and with the lot on which it stands, $75,000.
The old church was sold in 1883,
and was given up by the congregation in that year. The new church
was erected by Sanguinet, at that time resident in Fort Worth.
His associate in the work was the first man married in the edifice.
- o o o -
FIRST HOTEL IN DALLAS AND
HOSTELRIES THAT FOLLOWED
The Old Crutchfield
House and One of Its Managers-- The Present Day Edifices
in the Metropolis.
In no way
is the evolution of a village into a town and of a town into
a city more accurately shown than in its hotels and cafes. As
in olden times, men traveled by foot, horse and coach many miles
to find an inn where they and their beasts might be properly
cared for and they might find good cheer within, so does the
traveling public of to-day pass by the city with its inferior
hostelries and go, perhaps, long distances further to spend a
day or a night at a place where there are bountiful tables and
comfortable rooms. In days of old, a popular inn was the central
place of a wide community and its keeper was a man treated with
kindness and respect by royalty itself. Around its board gathered
the mighty and the wise and there are hundreds of old taverns
scattered over Europe and along the Atlantic seaboard of the
United States in every room of which has occurred incidents noted
Until the civil war in the United
States, most men of prominence were more or less addicted to
drinking, and the walls of many an old tavern ale room, if they
could even whisper, could tell stories of mirth and laughter,
of joke and fleeting joy and of wassail and of song. Men met
to talk of love and war and politics and every speech and every
song was hyphenated with a full bowl.
Popular hotels are as frequented
now as a popular inn was when Clay and Webster touched feet together
beneath the same table. The way they have of meeting is as different
as the modern hotel is different from the old inn, but the methods
pursued and the results attained, are much alike. Many a boom
from that of an obscure congressman to that of a presidential
candidate is started in the seclusion of a richly decorated hotel
room, and when a financier wants to interest one or more of his
running mates in a big deal, he invites him, or them, to join
him at lunch or dinner. Champagne, or its equivalent, is as effective
as hard cider and apple jack used to be, and stuffed duck and
tender roasts are as appetizing to the men nowadays as venison
or planked shad. With these around them, there comes a spirit
of compromise to most men and agreements of far reaching consequences
are often made. Owen Meredith, as well as the rest of civilized
mankind, though nothing absolutely essential to life save cooks,
and, without hotels, the race of cooks would dwindle like the
Populist party after Bryan's first nomination for the presidency.
First Hotel in Dallas.
The first hotel Dallas ever knew
was a historic landmark in this city for many years. It was built
about 1850 on the bluff of the Trinity near the eastern end of
the present Commerce street bridge. It stood there for years,
giving welcome to the weary traveler. The barn behind had a welcome
for the traveler's tired horse. Travelers from all parts of the
Southwest occasionally stopped there, and within its walls were
entertained Sam Houston, John H. Reagan and many another who
did deeds for Texans to remember. After an existence of about
fifteen years, the old Crutchfield House, together with most
of the rest of the town, was consumed by an incendiary fire.
Dallasites took the law into their own hands and, finding four
negroes believed to be the guilty firebugs, took them quietly
across the river and left them hanging to as many trees as there
Shortly after this, the Crutchfield
House was rebuilt, but in another location. This time, it occupied
the site of the present fire station at Main and Broadway. It
was run by Mrs. Crutchfield till 1870, when S. E. McIlhenny became
its manager. Mr. McIlhenny was then a very young man, but he
knew how to run a popular hotel and he made it successful. Since
then, he has managed the Grand Windsor, the Windsor, the Oriental
and the Majestic. He is now in charge of the handsome South Ervay
street hostelry, and has not lost one whit of his immense popularity
with the traveling public. The hotel Mr. McIlhenny is managing
to-day has 247 rooms and is fitted with the most modern conveniences.
From the Crutchfield house to the Majestic is a long stride,
but Manager McIlhenny is at his ease as much now as he was then.
Mr. McIlhenny's Career.
- June 16, 1907, Dallas
Daily Times Herald, Section II, p. 2, col. 4-6.
Mr. McIlhenny said: "It has
been thirty-seven years since I began my hotel career in Dallas.
I have seen hotels and hotel men come and go. The Crutchfield
house was a good one in its day, but no more to be compared with
the best hotels in Dallas now, than was the village of then,
with the city of now. But, Dallas has had good hotels ever since
I came here. The town grew rapidly and the hotels kept the pace.
The traveling public, especially the drummers, early acquired
the habit of coming here to spend Sundays. That was because Dallas
had, and has, the best hotels in the state. Drummers come to
Dallas from hundreds of miles to spend a day or two off the road
now. It is due entirely to the superiority of our hostelries.
They will continue to come just as long as we continue to keep
our hotels in the lead."
Next to Mr. McIlhenny in point
of long service as a Dallas hotel proprietor, is Charles Hodges.
Mr. Hodges began the management of the old National hotel in
1887. In 1894, Mr. Hodges assumed charge of the St. George. He
is still proprietor of the St. George and of the Windsor as well.
Mr. Hodges expects to soon add a modern addition of forty or
fifty rooms, each with bath, to the St. George. Like the other
elder veteran Dallas Boniface, Mr. Hodges says Dallas will be
famous just as long as her hotels maintain their present splendid
From the first Crutchfield House,
capable of entertaining on a pinch, twenty-five or thirty guests,
to the present splendid and capacious hotels of today, is a long
step and a far cry. To-day, Dallas has the Oriental with 250
rooms, the Majestic with 250 mores, the Imperial with 150, the
St. George with 100, the Windsor with 100.
The Immense Southland.
By the opening of the next Fair,
the Southland, with 200 rooms, will be open to the public. These
hotels, combined, furnish 1050 rooms. When needed, hotel men
estimate, a hotel can be made to accommodate, on an average,
four guests for each room. Thus, it will be seen that the leading
hotels of Dallas can take care of about 5000 strangers. Smaller
hotels and public boarding houses can easily care for as many
more. It is asserted with confidence that, without crowding and
with comparative effort, Dallas' public eating and resting places
can easily arrange and provide for at least 15,000 strangers.
No city of its size can surpass this. Few can equal it. It is
no wonder that managers of big conventions like to bring their
gatherings here. As they are needed, there will be more hotels.
Dallas knows what they mean to all her people and will not be
- o o o -
PASSING AWAY OF
AN OLD LANDMARK
HISTORIC GUILLOT HOME, ON
LIVE OAK AND HAR-
WOOD, BEING TORN DOWN.
Built by an Exiled Monarchist
From France -- Jefferson Davis a Guest in
1873 -- Walls of Concrete and the Timbers of Oak.
An Interesting Sketch.
(Written for the Times
unusual interest has been manifested in the old concrete house
on the corner of Live Oak and Harwood streets, which, for nearly
four decades, has been a landmark in Dallas. The early
history of this venerable home is contemporary with the most
thrilling stories of pioneer adventure, and could be woven into
a romance transcending even later day fiction. Its passing
away recalls an era of simple faith in humanity, of generous
impulse, deep sympathy and high ideals, an era in diametric contrast
to the present age of strenuous and, oftimes, unscrupulous effort,
the keynote of which is commercialism.
- August 16, 1908,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 8.
The builder of this house, Maxime
Guillot, having lost his patrimony in the revolutions attending
the mutation of empire and republic in France, lost, with the
flight of Louis Philippe in '48, the last hope of retrieving
the fallen fortunes of his house. A romantic love of adventure
beckoned him to Mexico, then an El Dorado whose fabulous wealth
would have shamed the Arabian Nights. Destiny, chance and
a French officer in the garrison at Fort Worth, cast his lot
in Texas. The young Frenchman, homesick for Paris and the
boulevards, theaters and gaieties, remained three years with
his compatriot in Fort Worth and finally located at Dallas, in
his prophetic view, the future metropolis of the great Southwest.
The Guillot home was built in 1869, and is of a type familiar
in southern France, Mexico and French Algiers, where the heat
of the long summers renders them especially desirable. The
walls of the Live Oak street house are eighteen inches thick,
the windows broad and deep, and the hottest day in August finds
the temperature within, delightfully cool. All the wood used
in its construction is oak, cut in the Trinity river bottoms,
for, although, a water power saw mill adorned the banks of the
river even at this early day, there was no pine lumber in the
country. The doors, blinds and windows came in ox wagons
from Houston, and a great deal of admiring comment was lavished
upon them when they eventually arrived.
Prior to this, all the houses in
Dallas were built of hewn logs, some weather-boarded and others
having the "chinks" filled with sun-baked clay. It
is not surprising that this house, at its completion, became
a veritable "show place," people coming from great
distances to see it, and its owner being obliged to keep open
house for several weeks.
A history-making epoch now dawned
for this French home in pioneer Texas. Many of the men prominently
identified with the history of the commonwealth of Texas were
entertained within its hospitable walls. Among them, Lubbock,
Throckmorton, the democratic Sam Houston, the illustrious Reagan;
Considerant, a member of the French chamber of deputies, who
projected the French colony of Reunion; Major Arnold, commandant
of the United States post at Fort Worth, who wore the cross of
the Legion of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at Sebastopol,
and last, but by no means least in point of interest and sensation,
the beautiful daughter of Baron La Fite, who spent a fortune
in searching for the buried treasure of her Corsair ancestor.
Also, John Henry Brown, the Texas historian.
Between the "concrete house"
and the little town of Dallas, which nestled picturesquely on
the banks of the Trinity, there was a mile of forest, prairie
and ravine, and Mr. Guillot found the home on which he had lavished
a small fortune, too remote from his business, which faced the
courthouse square, and they returned to town.
The subsequent history of the house
is varied and interesting. It was leased to Dr. Calder
of Boston, Mass., a capitalist, who built the Dallas and Wichita
railroad. The terms of the lease specified $100 per month,
payable in gold. In 1872, this lease was sold to Dr. Sizer,
who arrived with his family from Mississippi by stage coach,
bringing with him his family servants. Dr. Sizer was a
surgeon in the Confederate army at Jackson. It was during
his occupancy that the house received its most distinguished
visitor. In 1873, Jefferson Davis, the idol of the South,
visited Dallas, and Dr. Sizer, being a friend of the Confederate
president, was appointed chairman of the committee to receive
the illustrious visitor. A big "basket picnic"
was a feature of the entertainment, and, at its conclusion, Mr.
Davis called at the concrete house to see Mrs. Sizer, whom he
had known in better and happier days before the war. During
the Sizer's occupancy, a pretty wedding took place. Miss
Ida Clint, sister of the popular attorney, Charles F. Clint,
becoming the wife of Mr. Frank Gano. Here, also, General
R. H. Gano and his family were guests while seeking a permanent
The next tenant was Captain Jack Smith,
more familiarly known as "Uncle Jack Smith." He
had been conspicuous for intrepid daring in the Indian wars and
the Confederate army---a kindly, generous man, brave as a lion,
gentle as a child.
Captain Smith had a pretty daughter (now
Mrs. Robert Berry) and a niece, Lula Peak, who became the wife
of Jeff House. The social life of the little town centered
here, and it is doubtful, if in the more formal and elaborate
functions of today, there was half the real enjoyment of these
After the removal of Captain Smith, the house,
again, became the Guillot home. Here the earnest and painstaking
man, an enthusiast and idealist, who had devoted the best years
of his life to the upbuilding of Dallas and the future competence
of those dependent upon him, watched serenely the lengthening
shadows of life's twilight. And here, also, the devoted
wife who had shared the privations of frontier life, passed on
to her reward.
Of the three children, two live in Dallas,
August S. Guillot and the writer of this article. Elie E. Guillot,
has, for the last seven years, made his home in Oklahoma.
The story of the old house, often told,
is here told for the last time. Venerable
and hallowed with cherished memories, it must give way to the
inexorable march of progress. The commercial tide of the
young metropolis flows around it, and the incessant traffic of
one of its main arteries sweeps before its ancient walls. The
prophetic finger of Destiny points to a brilliant and auspicious
future for the border hamlet of forty years ago.
The old house is a mausoleum of memories.
When the twilight falls on its dismantled walls, dark shadows
cross the shimmering gray, and the cobwebs are swayed in the
summer breeze, assuming eerie and fantastic forms. Phantoms come
from the long ago. Their forms are as impalpable as moonlight,
as silent as death, some are old and some are in the heyday of
youth's glad promise. Oftimes, there are voices, merry
or sad, and low as summer's winds. And sweetest of all,
there is the music of children's laughter, that exquisite symphony
-- the only bit of heaven vouchsafed to mortals on earth. - MAY GUILLOT
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Pleased With Conditions at
and M. N. Baker of the City Park board and E. J. Kiest, president
of the State Fair of Texas, made an inspection of the grounds
this morning, preparatory to turning Fair Park over to the city.
The park board officials were delighted with the conditions as
they found them, Mr. Baker stating that the park was cleaner
and in better shape than he had ever seen it before. Messrs.
Fretz and Baker will recommend that the grounds are in the proper
condition for acceptance by the city.
- November 19, 1908,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 6.
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