Let's head on a little road trip. We're not going far I promise. Boudreaux has his own seat...but he really doesn't like to be crowded...you've been warned.
A part of this post was made in 2009...but stay with me. I'll play Paul Harvey (you do know him right?) and give you "The Rest of the Story" at the end. Now don't skip down to look. It will spoil the story.
As you know, Mr. Dumpling and I love to take "excursions". We ride, look at landscaping, throw in a little antiquing and call it a good day!
There is a house in East Texas that has long fascinated me...almost an obsession. When I first spied the house, two elderly sisters were living in the home. It needed work at that point but was still lovely.
Many, many, many times, I would have Mr. Dumpling park across the street and just let me stare at it. I'm not saying this is normal...I'm just saying...
This is the house at the original location before being moved.
Here's a brief history written by Bob Bowman in the local paper:
"In 1908, as Sallie Pratt's house was being completed a block from downtown Hemphill, she "prayed a hedge" around the imposing structure and asked God to safeguard her home from man's destruction -- much in the Biblical fashion of Job 1:10.(End of article)
Today, more than a few Hemphill townspeople are convinced Sallie's prayers 95 years ago have protected her house from the wrecker's ball and will lead to its eventual restoration.
Sallie's home was built for her by husband, George Edward Pratt, who had followed his father's footsteps in the general mercantile business at Hemphill and Bronson. The house was furnished by quality furniture shipped to Hemphill.
Sallie's bed was so elegant that it was reportedly used in a scene from the film, "Gone With the Wind."
Fate worked against the house. The sisters passed away and a male relative was left in the house. He was quite an original and loved to march in parades (uninvited) in his boots, shorts and twirling a baton. He called himself a "Global Twirler". Highly intelligent, a class Valedictorian...but a little different. He used one room of the THREE story house 7000 sq. foot to live in. Here he is:
An auctioneer friend of ours was contacted to auction the contents. He was admitted into the house (which was a RARE honor). He said the house was covered in antique treasures...walls, cabinets, stacked on the floor...and oak (I adore American oak) everywhere. The house had double staircases!
Well, by this point, just hearing about "my house" had me gasping in delight I tell you!
To shorten the story, the auction never happened. Distant relatives came in, divided the possessions (so I heard) and the house was left empty. Ok, I peeked in. You know I did.
Some in the small TX town wanted it torn down. I made a few calls to see if the house was for sale. We hadn't built this home yet but we had the land. I just knew I could get it across the LA line and on our land. I told you...I loved this house! Someone suggested floating it across Toledo Bend Lake...at that point, Mr. Dumpling just paled.
In the end, the local church sold it and it was moved to make way for a parking lot. The local Historical Society bought it, moved it and a restoration fund was established but it still sat empty...and deteriorating. Here's the house after being moved to a new location:
And so the local town had fund raisers and began to raise money to save the house.
Yes, I have peeked in the windows. I have sat on the porch. I have pretended it was mine and how I would restore it.
Is that obsessed? I would rather think I have an excellent imagination and a love of old things. I want to save them, restore them and treasure them.
Boudreaux just demanded to be in this post. You know how he is! Such a little camera hog.
OK, here's the rest of the story. We were over in Hemphill, TX antiquing a couple of weeks ago and I made Mr Dumpling take me by to see the house. I check on it when we go thru just to make sure it is okay. I am NOT obsessed...truly.
We drive down the road and both say something seems odd. Isn't this the right road? Of course it is...but there is NO HOUSE. No...it can't be.
Here's the story from "The Daily Sentinel" July 2010.
Hemphill loses Pratt House to fire
"Built in 1908 by local merchant George Edward Pratt, the 7,000-square-foot Greek revival home housed the Pratt family until the late-1990s and later became a community restoration project. Last week, the 102-year-old structure inexplicably went up in flames."
I admit it. I cried. Not weeping tears but sad tears. My house is gone. I ranted a little. If they hadn't moved it, it would be okay. If they had sold it to me, it would be okay. I really hate to see us losing the beauty and the history of these old houses and mansions. What a treasure it could have been again.
And that's the rest of the story.
Some of the parties I share with:
Thurs Open House
Vintage Thingie Thursday
Friday Feathered Nest
Vintage Inspiration Friday