Our House Museums
In 1957 Frances Higginbotham Nalle of Austin purchased, restored, furnished, and endowed the Earle-Napier-Kinnard House of 814 South Fourth. She then gave the house- probably begun in 1858 by John Bayliss Earle and enlarged by John S. Napier- to the Waco Perpetual Growth Fund. Said to be the second brick house built in Waco, at the time it was built in 1858, Waco was but a small village. Not long after the original one-room house was built, the Civil War began and many of the men from Waco went off to war. The first owner of this property was John Baylis Earle, who came to Waco Village in 1855 when it had fewer than 700 citizens. He purchased the land in 1856, built the original one-story brick house on the property. In December 1866, H. S. Morgan purchased the property, for four thousand dollars in gold specie. Mr. Morgan started the walls for the dining room and the two-story addition. In May, l868, the property was sold to Dr. John S. Napier. While they owned the property, they enlarged the house to the final structure viewed today.
EAST TERRACE HOUSE (JW MANN HOUSE)
John Wesley Mann built East Terrance at 100 Mill Street in 1872, and the house was given to the Heritage Society in 1960 by F.M., R.T. and B.W. Young. Gifts from the Cooper Foundation, Eleanor Jurney Pape, Lucille Massey, and the others enabled restoration of the house by 1966. The house is Italianate Villa, a style popular along the Hudson River, and in that area referred to as Hudson River Architecture. The dining room, and large bedroom above it, was added about 1880. The second addition, the Entertainment Wing with its own entrance hall was added in 1884. Mr. Mann, whom had a brick kiln business, had his workmen put aside the most perfect bricks to use for his house, the terraces, storm cellar and the large chimneys of the four servant houses that once stood on the property.
William Aldridge Fort came to Waco in 1854 on a wagon train with 500 others from Alabama. He married Dionitia Elizabeth Wilson two years later. Together they had four children: three boys and one girl, Mr. Fort’s beloved Mary, also called May. In 1868, Mr. Fort moved the family from the outskirts of Waco and built Fort House at 503 South Fourth Street. In addition to becoming president of a bank, Mr. Fort also began the first transit system in Waco- a mule drawn open surrey with seats on each side. Sadly, Mr. Fort’s only daughter, Mary, died at the age of 20 from typhoid fever. Grief-stricken over the death of his beloved May, Mr. Fort passed away the following month at the age of 52. His wife, Dionitia, lived in the house until her death in 1910 at the age of 80. They are all buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Given to HWF by McCulloch heirs in the late 1970s, restoration of the Greek Revival structure was completed in 1980. The original house consisted of a two-room structure and detached kitchen. Dr. Josiah H. Caldwell, a Waco Physician, and his wife built this initial structure in 1866. Mr. and Mrs. Champe Carter McCulloch purchased the house in 1872. It was enlarged to its present two-story Greek Revival house made of local pink brick. The original Caldwell home was incorporated into the main building when the house was enlarged. The McCulloch House saw many of Waco’s historical events, being located just a block or two from the current courthouse, but none were as devastating as the Tornado of 1953. A portion of the back and upper parts of the house were damaged by the event, and restoration of the staircase was near impossible. Though stable, the stairs have a slight slant to them as a result of this damage.
HOFFMANN HOUSE (HWF OFFICES)
Acquired in the 1980’s, the Hoffmann House was moved from its original location to 810 South Fourth Street and restored for the purposes of being used as the offices of Historic Waco Foundation. This sweet little Queen Anne Gingerbread house gets its charm from all the fretwork detailing and original stained glass window. It is believed to be one of several Sears Catalog homes in Waco. Once the order was placed, Sears, Roebuck and Co. would ship all the parts needed to build your new home. Many elements of style are original to the house.