Houston Mansion Boasts Luxury —  and a Mysterious Original Owner

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It’s a home designed by a famed architect, and it is also potentially the keeper of secrets of Houston elite — and now the Davis Mansion (or the Kingston-Davis House, as it’s now called) is up for sale.

Depending on who you ask, Evalyn Davis was either romantically involved with oilman T.P. Lee, was a friend to Lee, or was romantically involved with Lee and he had something to do with the death of her husband (something he always denied).

A socialite in 1930s Houston, the rumor mill was rife, and Davis was somewhat of a mystery — not always present on census records (and historians have had a hard time finding out much about her), but obviously well-heeled enough to live in a mansion in River Oaks, where her property was adjacent oilman Glenn McCarthy’s (known as the inspiration for a character in the movie Giant).

Speculation about Davis’ and Lee’s relationship hit a fever pitch when Lee died and Davis entered a probate fight with Lee’s children over a will that named a bequest for “a friend” — and Davis claimed she was that friend. Davis ultimately lost that fight when the judge ruled that a newer will that did not name the same bequest was the one that would be recognized.

But she still had her mansion, which was designed by Joseph Finger, who also designed the Lancaster Hotel and Houston City Hall. When it was built in 1933, the home at 2330 North Braeswood Blvd. was the largest and most expensive house in Houston, costing $90,000.

Since Davis’ ownership, nine other owners have called the mansion home.

“This historic mansion is looking for a new owner. Built at a time when some of our city’s most prominent neighborhoods, like River Oaks were being developed, the house proudly sits on over an acre of land,” listing agent Jessica McCreary with Jessica McCreary Real Estate said.

The house, in short, still has all the hallmarks of a grand dame — 22-foot ceilings, a double staircase, stained glass, and 14-karat gold leaf on the crown moldings and trim.

“The house has two complete master suites, four full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, a butler’s pantry, basement with a wine cellar, a luxurious pool and a full live-in garage apartment,” McCreary added.

The kitchen has been updated, but the rest of the home has been well-maintained. Bathrooms might require some updating for more discerning tastes, but are still fitting the period of the home.

The home is listed for $2,399,000.

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  1. Bill says

    This mansion is NOT in River Oaks – it’s in Braeswood Place – still a very nice area of Houston, but about a 15 minute or so drive to River Oaks. That would be like calling Greenway Parks, Highland Park.