Wednesday, November 21, 2007
A Colorful Tradition at Jefferson, Texas's House of the Seasons.
She was born in 1872, a bridge between Greek Revival and Victorian Italianate, with broad arched doorways and intricate column heads. She has seen many good days and some dark ones, too.
The house and the tree are impressive from their perch above the street. But for those who have ventured through the doorways, one feature stands out more than any other.
Epperson served as president of the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad Company from 1867 to 1870, but he was replaced by John C. Fremont that year. Two years later, the railroad was taken over by the Texas Pacific Railroad. Epperson's daughter later recalled that her father met Fremont on the street in New York City years later, and beat the tar out of him with his walking cane.
This house was built after Epperson's time with the railroad. It was probably designed by Arthur Gilman of New York City and built by J.M. Daniels of Paris, Texas. After moving in, Epperson's first wife Amanda died... and he remarried. The former Nancy Reed bore him two children but apparently didn't get along well with his sons from the first marriage. They would go out at night and party, coming in late up the back staircase. She warned them to stop, and when they didn't she had the staircase removed.
Epperson died in 1878, in the middle of the Diamond Betsy trial. He'd been asked to assist with the prosecution on the matter. But his health was failing, and he was obviously in great pain. He died the night of September 6th, after his doctor gave him a sedative.
The home was restored between 1973 and 1976 by Richard Collins. He found Epperson's daughter living in a retirement home in Ada, OK, and asked for assistance with the home's repairs. Jeannie Epperson shared valuable memories of what the home was like in its heyday. She had never married. And she had kept many of the original furnishings when she moved. Most of those items have been returned to the House of the Seasons.
The ceilings on the first floor are 14 feet... while the ceilings on the second floor are 13 feet. Add in the single pane windows, and you can see that heating and cooling the home is expensive!
All of the chandeliers are original to the home. The home was built with the (then brand-new) gas lighting.
Most of the single pane windows are original to the home, but a few have been replaced due to breakage.
A fourth room was eventually turned into the bathroom for the home. The original house came with its own outhouse, but that structure has been lost to time.
There are many stories about this grand pinnacle. Some say a bathtub used to be housed up here,
At night, lights illuminate the cupola from the inside, shining bright color out into the neighborhood below. The cupola isn't open to the general public, but if you stay in the Carriage House you can receive a private tour.
The House of the Seasons is a popular tour, open Monday through Friday by appointment. Tours are $7.50 per person, or $6.50 for groups of 12 or more. But guests can also enjoy the Carriage House, an addition built to the back of the property.
firstname.lastname@example.org. And for more on the home, check out the website.
UPDATE 1/3/17. I did go back by the House of the Seasons in March of 2015 on my way back from Houston, and took this shot. I'd love to go back and tour the house again, now that I've improved on my photography. The house and its story are intriguing to me.