[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2018! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at SecondShelters.com!]
From Bethany Erickson: I’m a history nerd. When I found this house in La Grange that carried so much Texas history with it, we began talking as a staff — what if every week we featured a historical home in a place people would love to travel to? Historical Shelters was born.
What if we told you that you could own both a piece of Texas history and a place to lay your head after a long day at Round Top or kayaking the Colorado River — and that they were the same place?
And what if we told you that the opportunity existed for less than $300,000?
Well, let us introduce you to the Brookfield-Evans-Cremer House in La Grange, home to an Alamo hero, a couple of heroes from the Battle of San Jacinto, and a proposed site of the capital of Texas.
Located at 2647 Kallus Road in La Grange, Texas, this property actually boasts two homes with two bedrooms and two bathrooms each and sits on a little more than three acres.
Our story begins in the early 1830s when, according to a website devoted to Fayette County history, William Brookfield and Musgrove Evans moved their families to Texas. Samuel Evans — one of Musgrove’s sons — and Brookfield bought the land where the house stands in 1835, but Samuel died at the Alamo the next year.
Brookfield’s son Francis and Musgrove also served in the Battle of San Jacinto.
And here’s where it gets even more interesting — in 1838 the Congress of the newly-minted Republic of Texas voted to buy the land and an adjoining league for a new capital, to be named Austin. But Texas President Sam Houston vetoed it.
So yes, this property was once almost the capital of Texas.
William Brookfield built a two-story home at the site. Musgrove also served as the Republic’s auditor general.
When Mexican troops took control of San Antonio in 1842, several families took refuge at the home, and Francis joined other local men to fight off the invading Mexican Army in what became the Dawson Massacre. He died in the massacre.
The two families became officially intertwined when Emma Brookfield — William’s daughter — married Vincent, another Evans son. When Vincent died, she married Julius Cremer.
The main house was rebuilt in 1911 after a fire destroyed the second floor.
The property has most recently been the 1835 Texana Historic Hacienda.
“Most recently — and I mean something like two years ago — it was used as a bed and breakfast and event center,” Paula Collins of Hart Land Real Estate in La Grange explained. “It’s been vacant for a number of years, and has fallen into disrepair.”
This is a crying shame. The main house has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and its 2,592 square feet of space includes a huge central hall with rooms on both sides. It has concrete floors, stucco walls, and a fireplace.
The guest house, which was used as the bed and breakfast portion previously, has 1,096 square feet, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms, and has stone walls inside to create a dramatic feel.
Both homes rest on a hilltop, affording gorgeous country views, although the grounds immediately around the homes could use some sprucing up as well.
Total cost is $250,000, which means you could easily afford to give the property some TLC and have both a second home and an income property.
“There are an additional 21 acres that are for sale, too,” Collins said.
And there is plenty for potential guests to do in La Grange and the surrounding area. “You’re very near Round Top, and you can kayak in the Colorado River,” Collins said. “We have some LCRA parks where you can put your kayak in the river.”
“We also have a very popular quilt museum,” she added. “It’s a world class museum devoted to quilts, and it gets a lot of visitors.”
The town also boasts the Depot Museum and M-K-T Railroad Depot, the Frisch Auf! golf course, the Jersey Barnyard (a working dairy farm), Monument Hill and the Kreische Brewery state historic sites, and the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. There is also a year-round farmers market on the La Grange town square every Saturday.
La Grange’s proximity to the big cities makes it an ideal getaway. “We’re located right in the middle between Houston and Austin,” Collins said. “it’s an hour and a half to Houston and an hour to Austin.”
If you’re worried about the potential red tape or restrictions in owning a property with such a pedigree, Collins said there aren’t any real restrictions to what you do with it.
“It’s got a state plaque on it, but it’s not protected,” she said. “But I will say that the people that are interested in it right now are interested because it’s historic.”
“It really is just such a cool, old place.”
Lisa Corker with Hart Land Real Estate has the listing.