brenhamSituated at one of the highest points in Washington County, Texas, this Queen Ann Victorian in Brenham clearly still has some stories to tell.

Built in 1901, the grand lady was moved to its current site — the former home of the Live Oak Female Seminary established in 1853 — much later and restored to its Victorian glory. Sitting on nearly 47 acres of land along the historic La Bahia Trail, 9105 Mayfair Lane sits near Independence and Brenham, and boasts rolling views clear to Lake Somerville and College Station.

(more…)

MontanaIt’s not often that we come across a historical shelter that is both a potential second home and a possible income generator, but The Centennial Inn property in Livingston, Montana is just such a two-fer.

The best part? It sits on 13 acres adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, with 1,000 feet of river frontage. Gorgeous, pristine, canyon property between the Gallatin and Absaroka mountains. 

Currently, the showpiece is a turn-of-the-century train car that has been refurbished to its original Victorian style (with a few updates). 

“This turn of the century Northern Pacific railcar has seen the country as a railway express, U.S. rolling post office and as an Old West attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair representing Montana during Montana’s territorial centennial,” said Visit Montana. (more…)

Simone

The birthplace of Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon (photo courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation).

In a complete departure from our usual Historical Shelters leitmotif of showing an incredible historical home available for purchase, this weekend we’re going to show you an incredible effort to save a historic home. 

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1933, the young girl that would become Nina Simone lived in a three-room, 660 square-foot clapboard house for part of her childhood — there were six children in the Waymon family, so three rooms would be a tight fit. It was in this house that she taught herself to play on the upright piano at age three. 

It was there that Tryon residents became aware of her talent and convinced her mother to allow her to take piano lessons from a resident who was classically trained. It was that early recognition of her talent that set her on a path toward Julliard, a career that transcended genre and country, and 15 Grammy nominations.

Nina Simone, age 8

Tryon was also the place where she got her first confrontations with racial discrimination, too.

“Looking back, Nina Simone’s childhood life in Tryon didn’t just shape her musically; it was also where she experienced the racial discrimination that shaped her worldview and eventually propelled her as a voice of the Civil Rights Movement,” the National Trust for Historic Preservation wrote. “Once such instance is when Simone’s parents were forced to give up their seats to white audience members at her debut recital. Even though she was only eleven, Simone found her voice and refused to play until her parents were returned to their rightful place in the front row.” (more…)

martha's vineyardBy 1979 when Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis bought Red Gate Farm at the edge of Squibnocket Pond in Martha’s Vineyard, if anyone was in need of refuge from prying eyes, it was the former First Lady.

And now that 340-acre sanctuary with a mile of beachfront near the Cliffs of Gay Head is up for sale. 

When Onassis bought the property, there was just a hunting cabin on the land, which had previously been a sheep farm. Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, who had redesigned the White House Rose Garden, designed the landscapes on the estate, and architect Hugh Newell Jacobson designed the Cape Cod-style main house and a two-story guest house. 

(more…)

big surOne of California’s best scenic drives is Highway 1 through Big Sur — and this week’s historical shelter is not only boasting a Highway 1 address, but it was built by one of the foundational members of the Big Sur community.

Back in the day, Big Sur was quite the hotbed of artistic talent, from sculptor Harry Dick Ross, to novelist Henry Miller, collage artist Jean Varda, painter Emil White, poet Robinson Jeffers, writer George Sterling, poet Eric Barker, painter Ephraim Doner, Jack Kerouac, and photographer Ansel Adams.

Big Sur’s pioneer era began sometime between 1821 and 1846 and ended in 1937, with the opening of Highway 1. In the years in between, families that still call Big Sur home today took root —  Pfeiffer, Bixby, Post, Trotter, Dani, Notley, Partington, and Harlan.

(more…)

Grapevine

A lot has changed since mobster Herbert “The Cat” Noble owned the land now home to a luxurious estate – including the fact that there is now a Lake Grapevine.

All that’s really left to remind anyone of the time Herbert “The Cat” Noble lived in North Texas is the stretch of land he bought up around 1941, before there was a Lake Grapevine, in southern Denton County. 

Suffice to say, Noble wouldn’t recognize the extravagant estate that sits there now, either. When he lived there, there were two cabins and a 280-acre farm, and no lake.  (more…)

Camp Woods Estate is surrounded by rich American history. Located in Ambler, Pennsylvania, the estate took its name from the adjacent 36-acre Camp Woods Land Preserve where General George Washington and his troops spent the fall of 1777 during the Revolutionary War. And the birthplace of America in Philadelphia’s Center City is only 16 miles north. (more…)