In October of 1860, James B. Dotson purchased land on the corner of Walnut and Henderson streets from Allen Urquhart for construction of The Dotson Home Place for his wife L.V. (Lucy VanDuzen Culberson) Dotson and their infant daughter Lula. The home at 304 N. Walnut St was in the same block as that of L. V.'s parents D.B. Culberson, Sr., pastor of the First Baptist Church. L. V.'s brother D. B. Culberson Jr., a lawyer in the Texas legislature and his son (L. V's nephew) Charles Allen Culberson, who became Governor of Texas, also lived down the street. Not long after constructing the home, James B. Dotson was called into service for the Confederacy in the Civil War. He served in Company "K" of the 7th Texas Infantry. He died at the battle of Raymond, Mississippi, on May 12, 1863. He was buried by the local townsfolk in a nearby cemetery where he remains today.
After the death of her only daughter Lula Dotson Todd in 1879 at the age of 18, L. V. Dotson lived with her daughter's widow, Charles Smith Todd, and his brother George Todd and his family. She was affectionately called Aunt Dottie by the members of the Todd family. L. V. Dotson remained the owner of The Dotson Home Place for 60 years until she sold the home to Dr. Jesse Peebles and his wife Lallie Young Peebles in 1923. L. V. Dotson died in 1924 at the age of 85 years. She is buried with her daughter in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson.
Dr. Jesse Peebles and his wife Lallie moved to Jefferson in 1923 with their two children William Jesse and Laura Evelyn. After the untimely drowning of Dr. Peebles in the Cypress Bayou at age 42, his widow and son remained in the home for the remainder of their lives. Evelyn Peebles Tinsley lived in the home until 1989 when she moved to Washington state to be near her son and his family. She followed in her father's footsteps in the medical field as a nurse. She passed away in 1994 at the age of 82 and is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson.
The Dotson Home Place is a simple hipped roof structure with a central hall floor plan typical of early Texas Greek Revival architecture. The home is symmetrical, having a three-bay wide front wall with a tetrastyle front portico and a gabled pediment supported by simplified classical boxed columns. The front windows are typical of the period with 6 over 6 pane windows but are unusual in form with sidelights. Recent renovations to the home indicate that these sidelights are original to the home. The front entry is a double door with classical Greek revival details. The home maintains the original doors, windows and siding complete with square nail construction.
The front doors open to a central foyer with original flooring and ceiling. The foyer originally led to an outdoor porch, but was eventually converted to a central hallway, which continues to the rear entry of the residence. All rooms in the home lead from the central hallway. Period-specific wall coverings, heart pine flooring and transoms above the doorways have been meticulously restored or re-created to demonstrate the home's original character. The central hallway has many family mementos, photos and relics on display.
To the immediate right of the foyer is an original bedroom to the home. A closet was added to this room in modern times. Years ago, closets were uncommon because they were considered separate rooms requiring residents to pay taxes based on the number of rooms in the home. A complete antique American commode set is on display in the bedroom, originating back to the mid to late 1800's. It is rumored that this bedroom was used by Dr. Peebles as his clinic with a few older residents of Jefferson claiming to have been born in this room.
The original parlor, now used as a dining room, has its original fireplace and is furnished with antiques from Central Texas handed down to the homeowners from relatives. The antique oil lamps and mantel lusters create an atmosphere of comfort, characteristic of the original inhabitants of the home. The oil painting of a fruit display was painted by Evelyn Peebles Tinsley when she lived in the home. A more modern original watercolor painting of fruit by Corpus Christi artist Freda Morehouse complements Ms. Tinsley's painting. Two additional pen and ink sketches by Ms. Tinsley also hang in this room.
The den of the home has the original floors and ceiling, as well as a pass-through fireplace that has been updated. A second original watercolor by Ms. Morehouse of shrimp boats in the Corpus Christi marina, several original watercolors of the Texas gulf coast by Fort Worth artist Michael Borne, and an original pastel of the Port Aransas ferry by Texas artist Laura Griffith are also on display. Pen and ink sketches by the owner's father, architect George M. Graham, Jr., further the Texas coastal bend theme. To complement the artwork, two antique French oars are also on display.
The present-day kitchen is believed to have been another bedroom in the original home, as kitchens in the 1860s were disconnected from the main structure to limit the fire potential. The original cornerstone for the outdoor kitchen is still in place on the outside of the home. There is a discovery wall in this room that reveals the original construction of the exterior walls.
The current master bedroom and the two bathrooms were added to the home by subsequent owners while maintaining the original style of the home. In 2021, the current owners added a carriage house and bricked courtyard that compliment new gardens on the property.
In a town of mostly historic homes, the unique and multi-colored Steamboat Inn stands out as a symbol for preserving the best of the region's vintage homes while simultaneously offering modern comforts.
In theme, style and décor, the Steamboat Inn honors Jefferson's riverboat past from the 1800's. The colorful inn was built in 1992 incorporating salvaged materials and antiques from historic homes in the area. Owners Lana and Alex Mushik have re-created the quaint, historic look of a stately home from a bygone era.
All the materials used to build the Steamboat Inn came from four period homes located in Jefferson and Marshall. Those homes were built between 1850 and 1872 and were eventually demolished or damaged. Some of their materials were salvaged for re-use. The elegant stained glass windows in the dining room came from the historic "Pride House" in Jefferson, which caught fire and was severely burned. Visitors to the Steamboat Inn today can still see some cracks on the glass from the heat. This only adds to the Steamboat Inn's charm and unique blend of old and new.
The Steamboat Inn features six bedrooms and six bathrooms, five fireplaces and two pretty porches. The architectural style of the home, Greek Revival, matches other 19th century historic structures found in Jefferson. Like most of Jefferson's other historic homes, its original color was white with green shutters, but later, previous owners painted the Steamboat Inn a distinct New Orleans scheme of maroon with pale yellow trim and dark blue shutters. Glass transoms flank the double front doors which showcase beautiful etched glass panels.
Lana and Alex fell in love with Jefferson and the Steamboat Inn while visiting Jefferson in 2020. The Steamboat Inn had been for sale for three years and was in shabby condition following years of neglect. The Mushiks moved to Jefferson from California that year, purchased the Steamboat Inn, and began a series of improvements and renovations which included internal improvements such as plumbing and electrical, and external improvements such as painting, building gardens as well as sprucing up existing gardens, yard décor and landscaping.
The Steamboat Inn's most famous guest was Texas native Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. She stayed at the Inn in the mid-to-late 1990's while promoting her Texas wildflower program which aimed to help beautify Texas highways. Today visitors from all over enjoy the Steamboat Inn. Lana and Alex, both from the Ukraine originally, have brought their Ukrainian home here in their hearts and to the Steamboat Inn, and are excited to share that with you on The Candlelight Tour of Homes.
The Terry-McKinnon house, located in the downtown historic district, was built in 1880 by one of Jefferson's leading cotton brokers, S.D Rainey. The two-story Victorian style home contains the original coal-burning fireplaces, the original heart-of-pine flooring and grand staircase. It was purchased by Mary M. Terry in 1886 and remained in the Terry family until 1994.
The home is Victorian style and features 14-foot ceilings, heart-of-pine flooring and Victorian antiques. The floor plan of the house includes eight rooms. The kitchen is in its original location, but beautifully renovated and updated with modern touches, all while retaining the homes Victorian charm. The home was one of the first houses in Jefferson to have coal burning fireplaces. In the front parlors, two fireplaces have cast iron mantles and six of the remaining rooms have wooden mantles. The beaded walls in the dining room are original to the house. A walnut banister original to the house, is part of a magnificent staircase.
The home was built with no bathrooms or closets. The original water well, for the house remains under the kitchen floor and there is a water cistern in the backyard.
The wallpaper in one of the bedrooms may be familiar to serious movie buffs. It is the same pattern used in Scarlett's bedroom in Tara in Gone With The Wind. The woman who owned the house in the 1930's had seen the movie and had fallen in love with the wallpaper pattern. She contacted MGM and discovered the name of the company in New York that handled the wallpaper and ordered it.
The current owners, Ted and Kay McKinnon, have lovingly restored this beautiful home and are excited to share it with you on The Candlelight Tour of Homes.
Named for the Greek Goddess of speed and built to Jay Gould's specifications by the Pullman Company in 1886, the car is 88 feet long, 11 feet wide and built of wood. All the fittings inside and outside the car are solid brass. It was built to accommodate 6 passengers and includes sleeping quarters for the porter. There are bathroom facilities for each of the four staterooms. The car includes a lounge, dining room, four staterooms, butler's pantry and kitchen. The interior is finished in mahogany throughout with the exception of the staterooms, which are Ceylonese Satinwood.
The car generated its own electricity and a mighty boiler churned out hot water for steam heat.
There are many stories and legends that surround the Gould Car and its original owner, Jay Gould. One of the favorite tales in Jefferson is that of Mr. Gould coming to Jefferson to acquire a right of way for his railroad. The city officials of the era told him his railroad was not needed because we were a port city.
It is said that he wrote in the guest book at the Excelsior Hotel "The end of Jefferson Texas" and then exited to the street to tell everyone listening "Jefferson will have bats in the belfries and grass in their streets" for failing to agree to a railroad. This was almost the case, after a log jam was freed on the Red River. Our bayou began to shrink and steamboats could no longer navigate to Jefferson.
Jay Gould has a very long and varied story. In the company of the likes of the Rockefeller, Ford and Vanderbilt, he was a powerful man.
Jason "Jay" Gould (May 27, 1836 – December 2, 1892) was a leading American railroad developer and speculator. He was long vilified as a robber baron, whose success at business made him the nineth richest U.S. citizen in history. He was ranked as the 8th worst American CEO of all time, but modern historians have discounted various myths about him.
Beginning in 1879, he gained control of four western railroads, including the Union Pacific, which completed part of the transcontinental railroad, and the Missouri Pacific Railroad. By 1882, he had controlling interest in 15% of the country's tracks. Railroads made enormous profits and his wealth increased dramatically. He obtained a controlling interest in the Western Union Telegraph Company and the elevated railways in New York City.
Gould died of tuberculosis in 1892 and his grave site is in Woodlawn Cemetery in New York. His fortune was conservatively estimated at $72 million for tax purposes, which he willed in it's entirety to his family. The Jessie Allen Garden Club has taken the initiative in purchasing and preserving this historic rail car and are proud to share it with everyone during The Candlelight Tour of Homes.