House in Stephenville, Texas – The Story of Vanderbilt Place
A beautiful 3,700 sf, 2-story home was built on the site of what was formerly McIlvaney Academy, which burned down in 1919. We named this home “Vanderbilt Place.” With its hardwood floors, French doors, claw-foot tubs, five fireplaces, and high ceilings, it would be hard to find a better place to rent for a special occasion.
The house that currently stands on the site was built in 1920. In an article that the local newspaper was kind enough to publish, I asked someone who knew anything about the history of the house to give me a call. An old man said that the house was owned by a family with the last name of Henry and that the house was always “full of children”.
Another woman I met said she stayed there while she was in college.
I heard from another man who said that his mother ran the house as a college boarding house in the 1940s and 1950s. He said that, in those days, there was another structure on the property, a garage apartment, that he and his brothers slept in. . The son of the previous owner told me that there was indeed an apartment with a garage on the property. He said that although his father tore down that structure around 1999 or 2000, he was not beyond repair.
One funny call came from a man who said the entrance to the kitchen used to be all glass but, as a boy, he was throwing a ball inside and it broke the glass, “one day,” he added with a laugh, “that will live in infamy.” . That guy added that his dad had installed some sort of spring-loaded contraption designed to raise and lower trash cans, since “dogs, cats, and vermin were everywhere those days.” He said there was no reason to remove the device and that he is most likely still buried there to this day.
One day, two wealthy, white-haired ladies passed by the house. They said they were from Granbury and that they were part of the Henry family that once lived there. In fact, when the house was “full of children”, they were part of that group. The ladies were very nice and said many nice things about how we were decorating the house. One lady was even moved to tears. They explained to us how the house was always a guest house of one sort or another, and showed us how the room we now know as the kitchen used to be a small apartment. The main bathroom is now blocking what was once the back door, a direct shot from the front door. The French doors that we see at the end of the downstairs foyer weren’t always there, as those same doors once divided the living room from the master bedroom. The ladies reminisced about how they used to have dances on the front porch and told how they were related to the great American statesman, Patrick Henry, of “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” fame.
One night as I was putting numbers on the rooms above, I couldn’t help but notice that there were already nail holes there from the previous room numbers. Although we are sure that the house has undergone a number of renovations in its 85-year history, we are very proud of the fact that we remain faithful to the original uses and purposes of the building, that is, to provide a comfortable and sweet environment. . lively place where people can rest at the end of the day.