Friday, October 1, 2010

Jefferson, Texas

I don't know why I'm so fascinated with a little town in Texas, called Jefferson, population of about 2,199. Maybe because it's rare that a community has pulled together and restored so many wonderful historic homes and buildings in their town. The whole town fascinates's history, it's beautiful homes, and it's shopping. Jefferson was a booming riverboat town in the early 1800's with the "a genteel, graceful society of successful and well-bred families, a host of nefarious opportunists and a rich assortment of eclectic individuals, while offering a supply point and doorway to settlers and immigrants looking for a new life. The town reached its peak population just a few years after the Civil War and is reported to have exceeded 30,000. During this time, Jefferson was the sixth largest town in Texas. She was and remains, The Queen of the Bayou." 

The city proudly boasts many firsts, with two in particular. In 1867, Jefferson became the first town in Texas to use artificial gas lighting and a year later, ice was being made artificially in commercial quantities. It was a very rich and profitable town, but a very rough town due to the riverboat traffic. Being such a rich town led to the building of many beautiful homes.

My sister, Judith, and I just returned from a trip to shop and see the sights. We had the best time!! Not enough descriptive words to describe our wonderful trip. We began our trip with shopping and ended the third day with locating the many, many homes on the Texas historical registry. We did three days of constant walking. Believe it or not in three days I took 352 pictures! Many I have culled, I’m down to about 315.

I’ll start with the B&B we stayed at. Well, it was really a B - B, there was no breakfast served. We knew that ahead of time, it was cheaper than the local motel and the other B&B’s and we’re not breakfast eaters. There was a bakery just a few blocks down that had the most wonderful pastries. (more on the food later, that’s a whole other story) Back to the B&B, we stayed at the White Oak Manor, named for the enormous beautiful white oak on the front lawn.

It was on a peaceful street, in a quiet neighborhood. White Oak Manor is a Greek revival home built in approximately 1928 by the first county extension agent. The story goes, that Miss Clara Jones bought the house about 1970‘s. She was heard to say that she “bought the tree and the house came with it.” She restored the old rundown house and did a beautiful job.
There are five room to rent, we slept in Michelle’s Room. Lovely room with twin beds and our own bath with a claw foot tub. We loved the house, but were a little disappointed that the decor was not more in period with the home.

 Stairs to second floor

twin fireplaces in two of the upper rooms          love this old stove  

Miss Clara's Room

 Miss Clara sold the house when she could no longer stay alone and moved closer to her family in Temple, TX. I’m sure that she took the period decor with her. She died June 19, 1982. The house is now for sale and run by a management company that probably doesn’t want to invest in more expensive decor. Let the new owners do that. This was our only disappointment. The first night we had the house to ourselves. We borrowed the other room keys and toured the other bedrooms, The Rose Room, Miss Clara’s Room, the Innkeeper’s Room and the Judge‘s Chambers. It's a lovely home and a great place to stay.

Hope I didn't bore you to bad, because there's...


  1. I love that house, and especially the tree! All it needs is a tire swing and 3 boys to play on it! Did you have to take notes during the tours? That's a lot of info to remember. I didn't think it was boring at all. I like to know the history!

  2. There was a photo album in the house with the history and pictures of reconstruction. The Jefferson information, yes, I took some notes, and I also got on their web site. I wanted to know more of the early details. The tours were mostly general information. I like history too!!


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